Q and A: Can My Father Avoid Amputation?

Nov 25, 2007

Q: Dear Diabetes Health, My 82-year-old father is a type 2 diabetic. He is in extreme pain due to an ulcer on his toe and is at risk of amputation of his foot. Here in Canada, the doctors are quick to amputate.

Could you please tell me if any less radical proven procedures exist? I've read about a sock that is used to increase circulation; do you know if it works? I would really appreciate any help short of radical surgery.


A: Dear Ivan, The pain of ischemia (lack of circulation) is certainly severe. I strongly suggest a second opinion prior to amputation. Some vascular surgeons do not do the surgeries that bring blood down to the smaller vessels in the foot.

You must find one that does. These procedures are not possible in everyone, but a test called a digital subtraction angiogram may show that your dad could be a candidate for this surgery. There are many, many vascular surgeons capable of these procedures.

The "sock" you mention may be the "Circulator Boot." You can find very detailed information about it at www.circulatorboot.com. I have no personal experience with it.

- - - - -

Neil M. Scheffler, DPM, FACFAS
Author: "101 Tips On Foot Care For People With Diabetes, 2nd Edition"

Baltimore Podiatry Group
5205 East Drive
Baltimore, MD 21227


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Categories: Amputations & Amputee, Diabetes, Diabetes, Foot Care, Geriatrics, Nerve Care (Neuropathy), Type 2 Issues

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Posted by Anonymous on 25 November 2007

Please can I recommend something I worked with here in the UK (some years ago - I don't do any more!), and use all the time myself and for my family. I am not a diabetic, but I did have a foot ulcer which I healed successfully. Also I spoke personally to people who did have diabetic foot ulcers who healed and avoided amputation with this product. I promise it is not internet rubbish. It is called Youki the Wound Healer - call the UK on 01628 674644 to speak to Sujata Jolly the scientist who developed it and she will also be glad to advise. I know the way she treats wounds is contrary to much of current practice. The wound - except in cases of the heaviest exudate - should be uncovered where possible. Certainly in case of foot ulcer, pressure should be relieved, and when shoe needs to be worn cut away a hole in slipper to ensure no pressure on affected area etc etc No time/space to put everything here, but I promise you I recommend this product and approach from bottom of my heart. Lots of good wishes and good luck! Rachel

Posted by ricklude on 29 November 2007


My mother was a type 1 and had a resistant infection of her big toe also. Her two doctors wanted to amputate. If not for the intervention of a third and more agressive doctor, she would have lost her entire foot and not just part of the infected toe.

If there aren't other serious and "real" medical concerns, seek out a doctor of such caliber for your father.

I myself had my foot removed due to having NO circulation in it at all. The lower limb became infected post op and I am now an above the knee amputee ( L-aka ). I feel, I was too quick in letting them take off what was left sans a more agressive treatment of the infection. I didn't have any other medical conditions which could have caused further problems at that time either.

Posted by Xerelda on 29 November 2007

Have they tried honey to heal the ulcer? Also have they tried a hyperbaric chamber to heal the ulcer? An unna boot might help too. I've seen vein bypass grafts that go into the foot. Ask the surgeon to try that. If the leg veins are not in good shape to use as bypass grafts, they can take the arm veins. Check these things out first. It was my job to find those veins (registered vascular technologist).

Posted by Anonymous on 29 November 2007

My father has had a wound on his foot for over two years adn the only thing sthat help him have been Ozone therapy and the use of the Hyperbaric Chamber ( 2 hrs daily) - SO many I see there everyday with far worse wounds leave perfectly healed. though we live in Turkey and these are accpeted and apporved tehrapies run by specialist doctors and our insurance pays for these therapies in full - I don'T knwo if you have access to it - but Hyperbaric Chmaber therapy also saved my uncle's toes that were scheduled to be amputated and had developed gangrene. Best to your father.

Posted by Anonymous on 30 November 2007

Hyperbaric chamber therapy may be available at Virginia Mason Hospital in Seattle, Washington. This is less than 300 miles from Vancouver, Canada.

Posted by Anonymous on 30 November 2007

I've read that Manuka raw honey from New Zealand has antibacterial properties and heals infections.

Posted by Anonymous on 7 December 2007

Hyperbaric chamber therapy may be one way to heal the ulcer, but Anodyne Therapy often works better than the chamber. I don't know if this kind of treatment is available in Canada or not. Many different physical therapy places and hospitals are seeing great results with healing of ulcers and even reducing/removing gangrene with Anodyne Therapy. It also reduces pain.

Posted by Anonymous on 12 December 2007

I understand a new treatment with super oxygenated water called Microcyn from Oculus Innovative Sciences has been found to be quite effective in resolving diabetic ulcers. US Clinical trials are in process. You might contact the company to find out who is participating.

Posted by Anonymous on 19 December 2007

my uncle had an amputation for a diabetes toe ulcer. he went home the next day and returned with an infection within 12 hours.
the doctors recomemmended a below knee amputation. But it was all very terrible and he died the next year. Please do try every thing else first.
Uncle was driving just weeks before the toe ammputaion. Please try getting the circular checked ....

Posted by Anonymous on 18 April 2009

Please assist my mothers doctor is wanting to amputate her entire leg due to circulation issues which just started after bowel surgery and would like to do it within
30 hours why the hurry. My mother is not in pain can wiggle her toes and has no discoloraton in the leg but she does in the foot. Her leg is cold do I have time for a second opinion and what are the other alternatives. They do not want to take her back to surgery to do a bypass they state it only works 30% of the time anyway. Help please. thanks

Posted by charmona on 18 April 2009

Hello I am trying to find an alternative to having my leg amputated I was just operated on for a bowel blockage two days ago. I am recovering from that however the doctors want to amputate my r leg now due to no circulation in it after the surgery. They state it would be very dangerous for me to go back to surgery so soon i could have a heart attack however I want to same my leg.
The doctors are saying I must be put to sleep for the surgery no other way. Is there an alternative I can have at this time in the medical field. I do have heart failure, high blood pressure and diabetes type two. help please thanks

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