Amputation Prevention Q&A
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The reasons for seeking help from the Foot and Ankle Associates in the Bay Area can be numerous. Whether it’s foot pain, ankle pain, bone spurs, hammertoe, heel pain, or any injury, the Foot and Ankle Specialists can recommend a few different solutions to get you back in the game.
One reason people may go to a foot and ankle specialist will be to get information on preventing amputations, especially if they are prone to foot infections.
When an arm or leg needs to be removed, surgeons can do the job using an operation called amputation. It may be necessary when there is a severe infection in the area, such as gangrene due to poor circulation. An amputation may be needed if bone and muscle have died due to lack of blood flow.
Although amputation is usually thought of as a last resort, sometimes it is the best treatment for an infected limb that would not heal. More than half of all amputations are performed to treat peripheral arterial disease (PAD), which occurs when arteries become narrowed or blocked over time because of a lack of oxygen and nutrients from the bloodstream to the affected tissue.
Several reasons may result in an amputation. These include diabetes, peripheral vascular disease, and fracture or tumor complications. In some cases, an individual may undergo surgery to intentionally remove a limb to prevent the spread of an infection or disease.
Other reasons why an amputation may be necessary include:
• Diseases like diabetes that damage the blood vessels in your feet (diabetic foot ulcers)
• Infections that affect the bone and tissue of your feet (osteomyelitis)
• Trauma caused by motor vehicle accidents, industrial accidents, or acts of violence
• Tumors in your bones and tissues
Treatments depend on the type of amputation you have. The doctor will remove the disease-causing tissue and dead bone. Then they will smooth uneven areas of bone and seal off blood vessels and nerves. If a part of the muscle is being removed, the surgeon may cut and shape muscles so that the stump, or end of the limb, is ready for an artificial limb.
As a rule, all amputations require rehabilitation, including physical therapy or occupational therapy.
Amputations are a traumatic emergency. They can be caused by diabetes, arterial disease, injuries and infections. By taking precautions and being proactive, you can prevent amputations from happening to you.
Some ways you can minimize your risk of needing an amputation include:
Wearing the right shoes.
The most common cause of foot problems is wearing too tight or too small shoes. Your foot expands and contracts all day long as your blood flows in and out of it. Any shoe that doesn’t give your foot room to expand can lead to blisters, corns, calluses, and other problems. That’s why it’s wise to follow the “toe wiggle” test before buying new shoes: Make sure you have at least half an inch between your longest toe and the end of the shoe. In general, wear flat-soled shoes with good arch support to help absorb shock, and Shoes that do not fit properly can lead to corns, calluses or other foot problems.
Keeping your feet dry and clean
Moisture is one of the biggest enemies of healthy feet. You might think you’re doing yourself a favor by putting on a pair of damp socks after you get out of the shower or bath, but that’s a great way to develop an athlete’s foot caused by a fungus that thrives in warm and moist conditions. Wash your feet daily with mild soap and warm water if possible. When cleaning your feet, pay attention to areas between the toes to avoid leaving soap residue behind that could cause an infection. Pat yourself dry and wear clean socks each day.
Protect Yourself from Injury
If you have diabetes, it’s essential to be aware of warning signs of severe complications such as infections, numbness, and tingling of your feet and hands. Get professional help trimming your toenails and seek immediate attention from a health professional if you notice reddened areas or cuts that won’t heal on your limbs.
Keep your feet healthy and happy! Contact the professional at the Bay Area Foot and Ankle Associates for all your foot concerns. We serve patients from Walnut Creek CA, Brentwood CA, Concord CA, Pleasant Hill CA, Pittsburg CA, Alamo CA, Antioch CA, Danville CA, and Oakley CA.
Additional Services You May Need
▸Custom Foot Orthotics
▸Ingrown Toenail Specialist
▸Traditional Podiatry Care
▸Foot and Ankle Surgery Clinic
▸Corns and Calluses
▸Foot Arthritis and Joint
▸Video Gait Analysis
▸Pediatric Foot Specialist
▸Chronic Foot Injury
▸Diabetic Foot Specialist
▸Acute Foot Injuries
▸Podiatric Sports Services
▸Plantar Fasciitis Specialists