The natural history of great toe amputations

J Foot Ankle Surg. 1997 May-Jun;36(3):204-8; discussion 256. doi: 10.1016/s1067-2516(97)80116-0.


The purpose of this study is to report the prevalence of reamputation following resection of the great toe and first ray in adults with diabetes. We abstracted the medical records of 90 diabetic great-toe and first-ray amputees admitted between 1981 and 1991. The most common etiologies of initial amputations were ulcer with soft tissue infection (39%), ulcer with osteomyelitis (32%), and puncture wounds (12%). Sixty percent of all patients had a second amputation, 21% had a third, and 7% had a fourth. Fifteen percent of the patients who had a second amputation had it contralaterally. Seventeen percent subsequently underwent a below-knee amputation and 11% had a Transmetatarsal amputation on the same extremity, 3% had a below-knee amputation, and 2% a transmetatarsal amputation contralaterally. The mean time from the first to the second amputation was approximately 10 months. The results of this study suggest that a large proportion of patients undergoing an amputation at the level of the great toe or first ray have subsequent amputations in the first year following the initial procedure. Additionally, it appears that the contralateral foot may be at significant risk for distal amputation following resection of the hallux or first day.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Amputation, Surgical*
  • Diabetic Foot / surgery*
  • Female
  • Hallux / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Reoperation