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The Scary Truth About Diabetes Foot and Gangrene - Don't Wait Until It's Too Late!

The Scary Truth About Diabetes Foot and Gangrene - Don't Wait Until It's Too Late!

Diabetes is a chronic condition that is affecting millions of people worldwide. The International Diabetes Federation recently released numbers showing that over 463 million persons worldwide had diabetes in 2019. By 2045, it is anticipated that this number will reach 700 million.

Diabetic foot and gangrene are among the most dangerous complications of the disease and, if untreated, can result in amputations and even death. It's crucial to understand the risks associated with these conditions and take preventive measures to protect your feet. In this blog, we'll explore the causes, symptoms, and preventive measures for diabetes foot and gangrene, as well as management options for those who are affected.

Causes and Risks of Diabetes Foot and Gangrene

Diabetes foot, and gangrene can be caused by several factors, many of which are related to uncontrolled diabetes. Here are some of the most common causes and risks:

  • High Blood Sugar Levels: Continuously taking in high blood sugar levels increase the risk of foot issues by harming the nerves and blood vessels in the feet.
  • Restricts Blood Flow: Diabetes can also result in impaired circulation, which can restrict blood flow to the foot and hinder the healing of wounds.
  • Nerve Damage: High blood sugar levels can harm the nerves in the foot, impairing feeling and making it challenging to feel pain or discomfort.
  • Smoking: Smoking can make diabetes' effects on blood vessels worse, which results in less blood flowing to the feet.
  • Foot Infections: Diabetes raises a person's chance of developing foot infections, which can lead to gangrene.

Contributing Elements Poor foot hygiene, foot trauma or injury, and inadequate nutrition are additional risk factors for diabetes foot and gangrene. To lower the risk of foot issues, diabetes must be adequately managed, and protective measures must be taken.

Diabetic foot symptoms and signs

Symptoms and signs of diabetic gangrene can vary depending on the severity and stage of the condition, here are some common symptoms:

  • Numbness, tingling, or burning sensations in the feet can be a sign of nerve damage caused by diabetes.
  • Changes in the colour or texture of the skin on the feet, such as dryness or cracks, may indicate poor blood flow.
  • Sores or cuts that take a long time to heal or that keep coming back can be a sign of poor circulation or nerve damage.
  • An unpleasant odour coming from the feet can be a sign of an infection, which can lead to gangrene.
  • Other symptoms of diabetes foot and gangrene can include swelling, redness, a feeling of warmth in the affected area, and the presence of pus or discharge.


Preventive measures for diabetes foot and gangrene include:

Foot and gangrene diabetes can be prevented with adhering to some of the preventive measure. Here are some of them:

1. Maintain proper blood sugar levels: High blood sugar levels can cause nerve damage (neuropathy) and blood vessel damage (vascular disease), which can lead to foot problems. By keeping your blood sugar levels under control through proper diet, exercise, and medication, you can reduce your risk of developing these complications.

2. Inspect your feet daily: Look for any wounds, blisters, redness, swelling, or other injuries on your feet. If you can't see the bottom of your feet, use a mirror or get assistance. Foot issues can be avoided from getting worse by being identified and treated as soon as possible.

3. Wear comfortable and well-fitting shoes: Shoes that are too tight or rub against your feet can cause blisters or calluses, which can lead to infection. Choose shoes that fit well and have a cushioned sole to absorb shock. Avoid high heels, flip-flops, or shoes without socks.

4. Avoid walking barefoot: The danger of damage when walking barefoot is increased, particularly when doing so outdoors or on heated surfaces like sand or tarmac. Wear shoes or slippers inside, and sturdy-soled shoes outside.

5. Avoid smoking: Smoking can damage blood vessels and reduce circulation to the feet, which can delay healing and increase the risk of infection. Quitting smoking can improve blood flow and reduce your risk of foot problems.

6. Exercise regularly: Regular exercise can improve circulation and reduce the risk of foot problems. Choose low-impact activities like walking, swimming, or cycling, and wear comfortable shoes that fit well.

Management of Diabetes Foot and Gangrene

Management of diabetic gangrene and foot typically involves a combination of treatments, depending on the severity and stage of the condition.

Here are some common management options:


For mild to moderate cases, wound care may involve regular cleaning and dressing of the affected area, as well as the use of topical medications to promote healing.


To treat the underlying illness, oral or intravenous antibiotics may be recommended depending on the severity of the infection.

Surgery can be required in more severe circumstances to remove infected or dead tissue and speed healing.

However, the most important factor that hampers healing is lack of blood supply. This is easily missed by many General Practitioners and the common man has no clue about it. It is almost like Heart Attack. When the blood vessels supplying the diabetic foot area is disease/narrowed or blocked , the blood with nutrients & oxygen needed for healing of the wound won’t reach the infected area. A Peripheral Vascular specialist is an expert who can diagnose & treat the diabetic foot condition. If medications fail to increase the blood supply of the foot, then a simple procedure called Angioplasty & Stenting will be performed by the Vascular Specialist. It is usually a PinHole procedure without any major cut or stitches. To save the foot or limb from amputation, try to consult a Vascular Specialist asap.

In some instances, amputation of the diseased limb may be required to stop the spread of infection or preserve the patient's life. This may involve debridement or removal of infected tissue, as well as skin grafts or other reconstructive treatments.

To assist patients in restoring mobility and function in the injured area after treatment, rehabilitation may be required. This could entail occupational therapy, physical therapy, or other types of rehabilitation.


Diabetes foot and gangrene are serious complications of uncontrolled diabetes that can lead to significant health problems and even amputation in severe cases. It's essential to be aware of the causes and risk factors of these conditions, as well as the symptoms and signs to watch out for.

Preventive measures such as regular foot care, maintaining healthy blood sugar levels, and quitting smoking can help reduce the risk of diabetes foot and gangrene. However, if these conditions do occur, early detection and reaching out to the Endocrinology department are crucial to prevent complications and improve outcomes. Working closely with Dr. ABCD following a comprehensive diabetic foot gangrene treatment plan that may include wound care, medications, surgery, and rehabilitation can help manage diabetes foot and gangrene effectively.

Dr. Virender K Sheorain
Peripheral Vascular and Endovascular Sciences
Meet The Doctor
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