Thursday, October 30, 2014

Friday, February 20, 2009 Donna, Community Member, asks

Q: are there alternatives to toe amputation?

My husband has type 2 diabetes and is currently in the hospital with a toe infection. The doctor is suggesting amputation to avoid the infection from spreading. Of course we are interested in alternatives to this. Can u help? They say that a probe test makes them think that the bone is infected. They have probed the toe several times in the past few day trying to remove puss. The radiologist does not suggest an MRI at this time to confirm if the bone is infected because they are afraid of getting a false positive. They have explained that being on the antibiotics for another two weeks is risky. 1. the infection can spread. 2. The antibiotics can cause kidney problems or possibly the shunt can get infected. I need information and advice to help my husband who is radically opposing amputation at this time.

Answer This
Answers (3)
frankenduf, Community Member
2/23/09 5:23pm

the only alternative would be to do everything possible to prevent infection: antibiotics, immune-enhancing nutrition, sugar control, increasing circulation to the area.  The problem, as you say, is there's no way to tell if it's already spread to bone, in which case amputation may be the only way to stop the infection from spreading further.  I guess my advice would be to research how many cases of toe infection heal versus how many progress to bone infection necessitating amputation, in order to get a picture of the odds.  Good luck- at least he has a loving wife to support him through this :)

skidude, Community Member
5/21/09 9:43pm

If you are still trying to heal an infected toe, my dad had success saving his leg through a treatment called circulator boot therapy that increases blood flow to the feet.  Their treatment protocol using locally injected antibiotics can in some cases heal bone injections.  The company name is the Circulator Boot Corporation.


leery, Community Member
12/20/09 10:24pm

My father is being told amputation below the knee is the only way.  Are you a Circulator Boot company rep or a real person?

skidude, Community Member
12/29/09 11:44pm

No, I'm a real person. My dad has had two cases of infected foot ulcers in the last three years where he was urged to have leg amputations.  The boot treatments saved his legs.   I wouldn't let them amputate until you give circulator boot therapy a try. I would recommend either the Brwn Mawr Wound Care and Vascular Center (Dr. John Filip) in Philadelphia since the boot treatment is covered by medicare there. This wound care clinic is not afiliated with the Bryn Mawr hospital.


Here is the website.


We have also used the Diabetic foot Wound Center in jacksonville Fl for boot treatment.

skidude, Community Member
12/29/09 11:47pm

I will be glad to talk to you off forum about this if you are interested.



AMP, Community Member
1/27/12 2:04pm

Get a wound specialist to see the foot.  These doctors have seen it all.  Once the wound is debrided he/she can give you a more detailed answer as to whether or not the bone is infected and will refer your husband to the appropriate surgeon.  I am in the process of going through this with my husband and he has been seeing a wonderful doctor who has a specialty in difficult wounds.  Surgery management is usually the last resort when nothing else can be done to save the bone but only your husband can make that decision but only if he has been informed of all of the pros and cons and by a surgeon.  Hope this helps.

Answer This

We hope you find this general health information helpful. Please note however, that this Q&A is meant to support not replace the professional medical advice you receive from your doctor. No information in the Answers above is intended to diagnose or treat any condition. The views expressed in the Answers above belong to the individuals who posted them and do not necessarily reflect the views of Remedy Health Media. Remedy Health Media does not review or edit content posted by our community members, but reserves the right to remove any material it deems inappropriate.

By Donna, Community Member— Last Modified: 10/13/13, First Published: 02/20/09