Amputated Foot and Toes
Amputation does not have to be part of your diabetes journey. If you do all you can to manage your blood sugar, learn about your risks and take excellent care of your feet, you’ll reduce your risk of major complications.
Amputation of the leg, foot or toes is a major complication of diabetes. Most diabetics are often oblivious to their risk status of developing a diabetic foot or leg complication that could quickly lead to amputation.
Diabetic patients are at increased risk of PVD (peripheral arterial disease) and PND (peripheral neuropathy disease). This is where the arteries and nerves are damaged leading to a reduction in blood flow to the small vessels of the feet and a reduction in sensation in the legs and feet.
Reduced sensation in the lower limb means patients are more likely to not feel if they injure their foot or toes, this could be a small cut, stepping on a foreign body or knocking the foot on a hard object causing injury. The prevailing wound may go unnoticed until the patient notices a lingering smell or sees blood on the floor. The wound can worsen with the added pressure on the wound lesion.
A reduction in patient’s blood flow to the foot due to PVD means the lesion is slower at healing and can become infected easier as the body is less able to fight the infection. Infection can spread to the bone or travel through the body i.e. sepsis if it is not treated quickly and taken seriously. The result may be tissue death known as gangrene and lower limb amputation may be necessary to save the patients life.
What can patients do to prevent amputation?
Diabetic patients should regularly see their podiatrist for foot checking and diabetic foot screening. They should know their risk status and understand in depth the steps that they and their podiatrist need to take to avoid amputations. Singapore Diabetic Foot Centre is highly specialised at this.
What can patients do if they already have amputation?
Patients who have undergone one or more amputations of the lower limbs are deemed high risk. High-risk diabetics are statistically more likely to develop further complications, wounds and subsequently amputations of the lower limbs. Depending on the amputation that has already taken place, your podiatrist will not only educate you and your family, but they will also facilitate or accommodate your amputation, thus allowing you to regain as much function as possible from your feet while helping to reduce the risk of further amputation. They will guide you step by step on how to care for your high-risk feet through extensive monitoring, in clinic care and home care.