Causes and Complications of Toe Amputation

Toe amputation may be necessary for a variety of reasons including infection, trauma, disease (such as cancer) and nerve damage. Most people who undergo toe amputation will be able to recover full mobility.
By: jane baron
Oct. 1, 2009 - PRLog -- Toe amputations may be necessary for several reasons.  Infection is perhaps the most common cause for infection and is often associated with foot problems relating to diabetes.  In addition to infection, toes may need to be amputated due to trauma, loss of blood supply (a condition formally referred to as ischemia) or nerve injury.  Sometimes toes are amputated due to a foot deformity.  Infants can be born with extra toes, in which case it is often easier to remove the toe in infancy rather than deal with the difficulty of finding shoes that fit later on in life.  Other foot deformities such as underlapping toes and overlapping toes are sometimes corrected with amputation.  Amputation is usually a last resort for these conditions and is only used when the procedure necessary to correct the problem would cause more trauma to the body than the amputation.  The most commonly amputated toe in these situations is the little toe.

Occasionally toe amputation is also necessary to prevent the spread of bone or skin cancer.  The idea is that the diseased flesh must be removed in order to safeguard the health of the rest of the body.  

Your podiatrist, surgeon and doctor will explain in detail the specifics of your amputation procedure.  The extent of recovery, of course, depends on which toes and how many toes are amputated.  Generally speaking, it is easier to recover from the amputation of one of the smaller toes than the big toe.  Also:  the fewer toes amputated, the less your body will be aversely affected.  

Most people find that they are able to maintain full mobility.  People with amputated big toes may have some difficulty when they attempt to run or increase the speed of their gait.  This is because the body uses the big toe to push off from the ground when it wants to accelerate.  If your big toe is amputated, your doctor should be able to help you in the rehabilitation process.

Other possible complications may arise if the second toe is amputated.  Sometimes a deformity known as hallux valgus develops.  This deformity occurs when the bone structure of the big toe changes permanently so that the big toe angles toward the outside of the foot.  Rather than pointing straight forward, the toe veers off on a diagonal, occupying the space once occupied by the second toe.  If you have had or are planning to have your second toe amputated, talk with your doctor about ways to prevent this deformity from developing.

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