Diabetic foot can lead to several complications, including an ulcer, which is a wound that does not heal, as well as infection, necrosis or amputation.
Wounds or sores (also called ulcers) may form on the feet or ankles. If you have a wound, you should look out for the following signs:
Diabetes makes it harder for your system to fight infection. This puts you at greater risk. Infections can be superficial, on the surface of the skin, or deep, extending to the muscles and bones. They can also spread and cause other infections such as cellulitis, lymphangitis, abscesses or osteitis, which is an infection of the bone. They can also enter the bloodstream and spread throughout the body, which is known as “septicemia.”
Be on the lookout for:
Fortunately, there is a lot that you can do to prevent infection or help it heal. A section of this portal is dedicated to this subject.
Uncontrolled infection can lead to tissue death, especially when blood circulation is poor. This is called gangrene or necrosis. It’s important to mention, however, that just because there are blackened areas in a wound does not necessarily mean there is gangrene or necrosis. These conditions can be confirmed by a health professional.
Necrosis is caused by a lack of or insufficient blood supply to an infected area of a limb. If the tissue is severely damaged and treatment has failed or is not available, amputation may be considered. That is why it is important to take preventive measures.
There are several signs of poor circulation, including these symptoms:
“Amputation” refers to surgery during which a limb or part of a limb is removed by a surgeon. In the case of diabetic foot, it is most often a toe or part of the foot or leg that is amputated, and rarely the entire limb. Amputation is considered as a last resort. It may be necessary if the blood circulation is insufficient, if there is severe infection or if treatment has failed.
Having an infection and peripheral arterial disease (PAD) at the same time increases the risk of amputation. Other conditions that can lead to amputation include:
An amputation will be performed only after every effort has been made to save the toe, foot or leg. This decision is made in consultation with the person affected and if it is in their best interest despite the undeniable impact on the quality of life going forward.
There are several treatments for peripheral arterial disease (PAD). These are discussed below.