Lower limb amputations

People living with diabetes have a higher risk of foot infections, which can lead to amputation. The good news is that most can be avoided.

About eight out of 10 amputations start with a small skin break or blister that doesn’t heal and becomes a foot ulcer (an open wound).

The ulcer can become infected if nerve damage and reduced blood flow slow the healing process.

Why foot amputations happen

An infected ulcer can quickly get much worse for people living with diabetes. Amputation may become necessary if an infection can’t be treated, or if the tissue becomes severely damaged or dies (called gangrene).

Recovery after an amputation

An amputation wound should heal in about four to eight weeks, although it can take longer. You will be given advice on your recovery and treatment.

You will also be given help from a team of specialists to support you with your physical and emotional adjustment after the operation.

Regular foot checks reduce the risk of infections

Always attend your foot checks, because knowing about possible foot risks can stop you getting an ulcer in the first place.

Get new foot wounds checked quickly

See a foot specialist as soon as you can if you develop a foot wound. The foot specialist will be either a podiatrist or doctor who is part of a multidisciplinary diabetes foot team.

Early treatment is the best way to stop an ulcer getting worse.