Diabetic Foot Complications – Gangrene (Types, Causes and Symptoms)

Diabetes Foot Complications – Gangrene (Causes and Symptoms)

You must be wondering, what is the correlation between diabetes and the foot/foot problems? Read on to know more about how diabetes can commonly cause foot problems and also lead to complications like gangrene.

Uncontrolled sugars in the blood can cause diabetic neuropathy (1) – a condition that results in numbness or a tingly sensation in the limbs (foot/arm) of a person due to lack of blood flow. Lack of blood flow can affect the tissues in the body and lead to more severe diabetic foot problems like gangrene. 

Diabetes is among the most common causes of gangrene (2).

Numbness and not being able to feel pain can cause a diabetic patient to be unaware of any cuts/injuries that may occur in those parts of the body. Lack of blood flow is a real problem in people with diabetes as it takes longer for a wound to heal. Exposure of the open sore/ulcer/wound to dirt and dust may cause it to get infected and if not treated on time can also result in infections and problems like gangrene.


What is gangrene?

Gangrene is a condition where the tissues in the body die due to illness, infected wounds or other injuries. It more commonly occurs in the feet, toes, arms and fingers.

Diabetes and gangrene (Types)

Dry gangrene

It is more common in people with diabetes and occurs mainly in the limb areas of the body. It is the result of low blood flow in those parts of the body .It is a common diabetic foot problem. Most of the time, dry gangrene is aseptic. This is because bacteria fail to thrive in dry tissue (3). However, if it gets infected, it can turn into wet gangrene.

Symptoms of dry gangrene:

          Painful skin

          Cold/dry skin

          Darkening of the skin

          Peeling off of the black skin

Wet gangrene

Wet gangrene occurs when a wound gets severely infected and blood supply gets cut off to allow it to heal (4). It is often caused by infections in the dry gangrene. Once that happens, the wound does not heal or may take too long to heal. Wet gangrene is more dangerous than dry gangrene and if you notice any symptoms, consult a doctor immediately. 

Symptoms of wet gangrene:



          Darkening of the skin (change of color wherein the skin may appear red, blue or black)

          Pus in the blisters

          Bad odor from the pus

          Shiny skin without hair

          Crackling sounds from the affected area if you press on it


If you see any of these symptoms, consult a doctor immediately.

More about diabetes and the foot here.


  1. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/preventing-problems/nerve-damage-diabetic-neuropathies 
  2. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/gangrene/causes/#:~:text=and%20cause%20gangrene.-,Diabetes,to%20injure%20yourself%20without%20realising.
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5987754/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5987754/

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.