Diabetes is one of the leading causes of lower limb amputation in the world.

When a person with diabetes has had an amputation the risk of further amputations in the affected foot or in the other foot is very high. The risks can extend beyond the feet and people with an amputation are at high risk of other diabetes complications as well.

This is why team care for people with diabetes after an amputation is essential.

Following amputation surgery and after the initial rehabilitation, healing, physiotherapy and education to return to health; then comes the longer term care of the person and working toward gaining control of their diabetes.

It is extremely important that you monitor your heath by checking your foot and residual limb daily (often a mirror is used to do this) remember to report anything out of the ordinary. The earlier any problems are detected, the easier it is to prevent any further complications. You will get to know your podiatrist very well and they will play a vital role in your ongoing foot health.

After an amputation, your team may include: your family doctor, rehabilitation consultant, diabetes educator, podiatrist, physiotherapist, prosthetist and your pharmacist. The team may grow to include a dietitian, a psychologist, and an occupational therapist. It can seem overwhelming at times, however, a team approach is the best way forward to manage your long term wellbeing.

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Daily checking of the residual limb can help to prevent problems

Managing diabetes can be quite complex but with systems in place to support your needs, you will learn what to do and will have access to care when you need it. Many complications can be prevented.

The cause of amputations in people with diabetes is complex; it results from multiple issues in the feet. These include:

  • loss of sensation in the feet from nerve damage - so people are not aware of any damage that has occurred.
  • poor circulation in the feet from the effects of diabetes on the arteries and small blood vessels.
  • decreased healing ability and increased risk of infections and from damage due to poor fitting shoes or abnormally shaped feet or toes.
If you are having trouble managing your diabetes, and/or have any health-related concerns, contact your healthcare provider immediately.