Conditions & Services

Gangrene

When the tissue of any limb begins to decay, it could potentially die. This is known as gangrene. It is a limb-threatening situation with the potential to be life-threatening as well.

What is it?

There are two major types of gangrene: wet and dry. Wet gangrene is caused by a bacterial infection, while dry gangrene is not a result of any type of infection, but a result of loss of blood and oxygen to the affected area. When there is a lack of blood supply to tissue, the tissue begins to decay because of a lack of oxygen.

Symptoms of gangrene include:

  • Redness and swelling
  • Loss of sensation in the affected area
  • Pain in the area
  • Sores or blisters that bleed
  • Sores or blisters that have a dirty-looking or foul-smelling discharge (when caused by an infection)

Am I at risk?

If you have been diagnosed with diabetes or arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), you are at potential risk for gangrene. Tobacco abuse is also a risk factor. If you’ve had a recent serious injury such as a burn or frostbite, gangrene is a possibility if the injury progresses and doesn’t receive proper treatment.

How is gangrene diagnosed?

Your physician will take a complete family and personal history, examine the affected area and make a determination to the possibility of gangrene.

Since gangrene is a serious condition, please contact a physician immediately. If you have signs or symptoms and are in the Akron-Canton, Ohio area, call Ohio Foot and Ankle Center for immediate care.

For more details on gangrene, visit the ACFAS informational website.