Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that foot and leg amputations decreased dramatically between 1996 and 2008. Over those 12 years, amputations dropped from 11 out of every 1,000 diabetic adults to only four-a decrease of almost 64 percent. Over the same period, however, the number of people officially diagnosed with diabetes tripled.
The CDC cites several reasons for the decline in amputations, including improved methods of controlling blood sugar and the fact that more diabetes patients obtain annual foot examinations. Another factor may be the 1993 establishment of Medicare coverage for therapeutic shoes designed to protect diabetic feet against ulcers that could eventually lead to amputation.
The study was published in the February issue of Diabetes Care.