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Awareness and Prevention: How Do Diabetic Foot Ulcers Lead to Amputations?

The Amputation Prevention Centers of America says that nearly 1 in 5 diabetic foot infections require some sort of amputation. “If ulcers can be prevented, up to 85% of amputations may also be prevented,” says Dr. Francesco Squadrito, MD, of the University of Messina, Italy. It’s clear that diabetic foot ulcers many times result in amputations, but why? Shouldn’t we have more options for diabetic foot ulcer treatment in 2014?

diagram showing typical locations of foot ulcers

Foot ulcers usually appear on the bottom of the feet, but may also affect the toes.

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The Dysvascular Foot & How It Leads To Infection

A “dysvascular foot” refers to a foot that has a defective blood supply. This condition is most frequently found in diabetics, and is directly caused by chronic heightened blood sugar levels which cause nerve damage over time. This nerve damage is called “neuropathy.”

According to FW Wagner,  dysvascular patients make up 80% of the thousands of patients who undergo lower extremity amputations. He created a scale to help doctors figure out how to determine the severity of a patient’s foot infection. Hopefully you will keep a close eye on your diabetic foot hygiene, so you never have to worry about such trouble.

wagner scale

FW Wagner created a scale to help doctors determine the severity of a dysvascular diabetic foot. Image Source: PhysicalTherapy.com

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