A new study has found that the number of diabetes patients in the US undergoing lower limb amputation has fallen by nearly a third.
In 1980, 5.6 million Americans were diagnosed with diabetes. By 2010, this figure had risen to 26.9 million, and at this current rate, many experts believe one in three US adults will have diabetes by 2050.
But despite growing rates of the disease, researchers found that upper and lower leg amputations caused by diabetes declined by about 29% between 2000 and 2010.
Only partial toe amputation, which has very low impact on quality of life, was shown to have increased during this period (up 24%).
“The trend was so clear and more obvious than I thought it would be,” said senior author Dr. Phinit Phisitkul, an assistant clinical professor at the University of Iowa department of orthopedics and rehabilitation.
He said that while the exact reasons for the decline in leg and foot amputations are unclear, improvements in foot care have led to better management of diabetic foot complications.
“We do know that better foot and ankle treatment is a part of it though,” he added
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), limb amputations caused by diabetes account for 60% of all amputations carried out in the US, including those resulting from accidents.

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