What Does Amputation Mean to a Diabetic Patient?

Recent research has shown that 60% of amputations that are not related to an injury occur in diabetic patients. The percentage rises to 80% when preceded by a foot ulcer. Infections due to diabetic foot are said to be the number one cause of leg amputations. The feet and nerves may become damaged from the high glucose levels that typically occur in diabetic patients, and this may cause a condition to occur that is referred to as neuropathy. Consequently, this may cause an inability to feel minor injuries and pain, and may ultimately lead to infections or gangrene. Many diabetics have learned that education about this condition may prevent the risk of foot ulcers and amputations. Additionally, learning how to properly care for the feet may play an essential role in possibly preventing painful foot ulcers.

Limb salvage can be an effective way in preventing the need for limb amputation. If you are seeking treatment, visit one of our podiatrists of The Foot and Ankle Associates of North Carolina, PLLC. Our doctors will assess your injury and provide you with quality treatment.

What is Limb Salvage?

Limb salvage is the attempt of saving a limb, such as the foot from amputation. Podiatrists also try to make sure that there is enough function in the foot after the salvage that it is still usable. Diabetes is the number one cause of non-traumatic amputations in the United States. Those with diabetes experience poor blood circulation, which prevents proper healing of an ulcer. If the ulcer is left uncheck, it could become infected, which could result in the need for amputation.

However there are other causes as well, such as cancer and traumatic injury. Links between higher mortality rates and amputation have been found. This translates into higher healthcare costs, and a reduced quality of life and mobility for amputees. Podiatrists have attempted to increase the prevalence of limb salvage in an attempt to solve these issues.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Limb salvage teams have grown in recent years that utilize a number of different treatments to save the infected limb. This includes podiatrists that specialize in wound care, rehabilitation, orthotics, and surgery. Through a combination of these methods, limb salvage has been found to be an effective treatment for infected limbs, and as an alternative to amputation. Podiatrists will first evaluate the potential for limb salvage and determine if the limb can be saved or must be amputated. 

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact one of our offices located in Ahoskie, Durham, Raleigh, and Rocky Mount, NC. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

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