Diabetic Limb Salvage: Amputation is a Very Real Risk


If you are living with diabetes, you have numerous health concerns and considerations to deal with and the disease can have widespread effects throughout your whole body. At first look, foot problems might not appear to be a major issue, but diabetes is actually a leading reason for leg and foot amputations. Today Dr. Brandon Holloway and Dr. Travis Holloway of Amarillo Foot Specialists are sharing information about the risks involved.

Understanding the Issues with Diabetic Limbs

Following a diabetic foot care plan is a wise starting point for reducing your risk of lower limb complications and keeping them healthy.

Diabetes can produce an unsafe combination of peripheral neuropathy (nerve damage) and impaired blood circulation that contribute to unsuccessful wound healing in the lower limbs. High blood sugar levels often cause serious damage to the muscle and nerve functions of the feet.

Nerve damage (neuropathy) restricts the ability of diabetics to experience pain or to identify minor injuries, leaving them unaware of the damage that is taking place. These changes in the foot together with the loss of sensation often lead to ulcers. Openings in the skin trigger the destruction of underlying tissues and may extend to the underlying bone and muscle, leading to gangrene and advanced infections.

Diabetes also makes plaque gather in the arteries to the feet and legs. This condition is referred to as peripheral arterial disease (PAD) and it dramatically reduces the blood and oxygen supply delivered to the skin and the tissues beneath it. When sufficient blood flow is not reestablished, healing is often impossible.

Diabetic Limb Salvage: The Basics

An all-inclusive approach to diabetic limb salvage involves a joint effort between medical professionals with the aim to reduce risk factors and boost wound healing.

Plaque resulting from diabetes decreases blood supply and, as a result, ulcers often don’t heal as they should and continue to grow. Research has proven that boosting blood flow is vital to the healing of diabetic ulcers. Interruptions in treatment and insufficient blood supply are the most common avoidable causes of amputations.

When treatment is required for ulcers and infection, antibiotics are often prescribed together with the removal of any and all infected tissue. 

Although these are some of the most common and serious issues associated with diabetes, the risk of infections, foot ulcers, and amputations can be successfully decreased by up to 75%. This is achieved with a combination of early detection, education, and aggressive treatment that utilizes a multi-disciplinary approach.

Diabetic foot care is crucial to your health and wellbeing, so call the offices of Dr. Brandon Holloway and Dr. Travis Holloway of Amarillo Foot Specialists today at (806) 322-3338 to schedule an appointment so we can put together a plan for treatment.