Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Does a diabetic foot ulceration require amputation?"
I am a 58 year old male with a diabetic foot ulceration and I am afraid this will require amputation. I am prepared for this outcome, but is there anything I can do to prevent it? Thank you.
The answer to this question depends on many factors. Certainly there are diabetic ulcers that end up requiring amputation. Some of these amputations are more serious than others. In some cases, a diabetic ulcer may result in the need for removal of a couple of toes. In other circumstances, the ulcer may be able to heal with good foot care and wound care. Diabetic ulcers occur because diabetes impairs the ability of your nerves in your foot to send pain signals. This means that when a part of the foot is beginning to break down, there is no way for you to know that this is happening (because its numb). In addition, blood flow to the area is impaired because of diabetic blood vessel disease. This impairs healing. The only way to stop this from progressing is to improve your blood sugar control. I suggest that you schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. The two of you can discuss how well your sugar is being controlled and any strategies you can undertake to improve your overall control. In addition, your doctor can take a look at the ulcer and make an assessment as to whether or not this will require amputation and what type of wound care would increase your chances of it healing. In many cases, patients like you need referral to a vascular surgeon for evaluation. Good luck.
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