People with diabetes have a 15 times greater risk of lower limb amputation than non-diabetic individuals. In many cases, the direct cause of amputation is obscure, although varying degrees of peripheral neuropathy, peripheral vascular disease, trauma, infection, and impaired wound healing are implicated. Foot ulceration, gangrene, and amputation result from the synergy of these underlying factors when effective preventive interventions have not been applied in a timely manner.
Patient education regarding foot hygiene, nail care and proper footwear is crucial to preventing amputation. Injury can lead to ulcer formation, which is usually the beginning of a problem. Adherence to a systematic regimen of diagnosis and classification can improve communication between family physicians and diabetes sub-specialists and facilitate appropriate treatment of complications. This team approach may ultimately lead to a reduction in lower extremity amputations related to diabetes. read more