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Ulcers and Amputations

Every year around 10,000 people with diabetes in England have legs, feet or toes amputated.

Janet Richards had a lower leg amputation after a cut incurred during treatment for an ingrown toe nail became infected and gangrene developed.

Trevor Cooke lost three toes as a result of diabetic foot disease.

Around 82,000 people with diabetes in England have an ulcer right now. Ulcers substantially reduce quality of life.

Antonio Guerreiro first developed diabetic foot ulcers at the age of 41. They took a year and a half to heal, and have recurred since.


The major amputation rate for people with diabetes in some ICSs is twice as high as in others. There is even greater variation at sub-ICS level; some former CCGs have major amputation rates 5 times as high as others.  

Experts believe that at least half of all these major amputations are avoidable. 

Reducing the major amputation rate in diabetes by half would improve quality of life for thousands of people, and save the NHS tens of millions of pounds each year.

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