Minor Amputation

Minor amputations are amputations where only a toe or part of the foot is removed. A ray amputation is a particular form of minor amputation where a toe and part of the corresponding metatarsal bone is removed as shown in the diagram below left.  A forefoot amputation can sometimes be helpful in patients with more than one toe involved by gangrene.  In this operation all of the toes and the ball of the foot is removed.

After minor amputations the wound is not always closed completely with stitches.  If infection is present or too much skin has had to be removed then the surgeon may leave the amputation wound open. When a ray amputation is performed the wound is usually left open to heal.  This sounds awful and to the untrained eye the resulting wound can appear dreadful.  If the wound is open do not be disheartened.  If the conditions are right for healing these wounds can heal well over a period of 1-3 months and leave a fully functioning leg and foot.  It is possible to walk virtually normally after losing toes.  Even after a forefoot amputation where all the toes are removed, walking is usually straightforward.