Diabetic foot or leg amputation is a primary complication of diabetes. Across the globe, it’s estimated that a limb is amputated every 30 seconds, and 85% of these amputations are due to a diabetic foot ulcer. Diabetes is associated with two medical conditions that increase the risk of foot amputation: diabetic neuropathy and peripheral artery disease, also known as PAD.
Foot or Leg Amputation and Diabetes
Diabetic neuropathy and PAD are different conditions but closely related because they cause some of the same complications:
- Diabetic neuropathy. This condition is nerve damage usually caused by prolonged elevation of blood sugar levels. Pain may be caused by tingling or burning, and the patient may feel weakness in the legs, hands, or feet. If left untreated, the patient may experience complete numbness in these limbs and may miss signs of an infection.
- PAD. This chronic disease occurs when plaque builds up due to atherosclerosis and makes blood circulation difficult. This narrowing of the arteries, usually in the lower areas of the body, can cause aches, cramps, numbness, and weakness. Because of reduced blood flow, wounds may be slow to heal or not heal at all. As a result, tissue can become damaged, and an infection can develop and spread to the bones. Once this happens, amputation is often the only option to prevent more damage.
Because many diabetic patients can’t feel pain or have a loss of sensation in their feet and/or toes, ulcers or wounds can develop and become infected, and diabetic foot or leg amputation may be required if the infection isn’t treated. If you live in Texas, consult with an experienced DFW podiatry doctor at the first sign of any problem or change in your feet, legs, or toes, so you can prevent amputation as a necessary treatment.
Foot Care and Prevention Tips for Diabetics
Diabetic patients can help prevent foot/leg amputation by maintaining a healthy blood glucose level, eating a healthy diet, and exercising daily. Additionally, there are other ways to care for your feet that can help prevent amputation, including:
- Seeing a DFW podiatry doctor on a regular basis and at the first sign of any problem
- Doing daily checks of your feet looking for any signs of ulcers, wounds, infection, or other abnormalities
- Never going barefoot to reduce your risk of getting cuts or wounds on the bottoms of your feet
- Always wearing socks to protect your feet and to prevent blisters from forming
- Wearing shoes that fit properly and provide adequate support
- Washing your feet daily with a mild soap and drying them thoroughly especially between the toes
Contact an Experienced DFW Podiatry Doctor
If you have diabetes and are concerned about complications, including amputation, contact Alliance Foot & Ankle Specialists for help. Our DFW podiatry doctor can answer any questions you may have and help create a treatment plan to address your specific needs. To request an appointment in our Grapevine or Keller office, fill out our convenient online contact form, or call our office today.