The most common causes of amputation

There are many reasons why an amputation could end up being unavoidable. Regardless of the cause, amputation is always a last resort, when all other options have been exhausted. We’ve listed the most common causes of amputation below.

Vascular disease

Blood circulation disorders often lead to lower extremity amputations (e.g., toe, foot, or leg), especially for older people. Circulatory disorders are mainly caused by calcification of the arteries, which doctors call arteriosclerosis. This condition causes blood vessels to narrow, known as stenosis, which can cause pain while walking. In more advanced stages of the disease, symptoms may also occur at rest. This can be caused by a lack of exercise, excessive body fat, smoking, high blood pressure, fat metabolism disorders or diabetes.

Diabetic foot syndrome

This syndrome is common in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. It is often accompanied by peripheral arterial vascular disease (PAOD), which is caused by diabetes. Both diseases make it more difficult for foot wounds to heal. People with diabetic foot syndrome often don’t notice until it’s too late, because their ability to feel, including pain, is significantly impaired.

Work and traffic accidents

Workplace and traffic accidents are also common causes of amputation.


Cancer-related amputations are relatively rare. Limb tumors or tumors near joints or nerves can, in some cases, require amputation to prevent the cancer cells from spreading and save the person’s life.


Infections and inflammation can cause amputation, but this is very rare. If the inflammation takes a life-threatening course, known as sepsis, infections can also lead to amputation.