Thoughts and experiences on leg amputation among patients with diabetic foot ulcers

Marie Kragh Nielsen, Heidi Bergenholtz, Ulla Riis Madsen

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Background: Although leg amputation is common among patients with diabetic foot ulcers, only few studies have examined the thoughts regarding leg amputation from the perspective of patients. Aim: This study aims to explore the thoughts of patients with diabetic foot ulcers regarding leg amputation. Method: A qualitative design using semi-structured interviews were used and analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). In all five patients participated and the interview questions were focused on thoughts in relation to a possible leg amputation. Findings: Four significant themes were revealed: 1) “Considered—not spoken”—reflections on being alone with one’s thoughts, 2) “What people think about me”—concerns about consequences on social relations, 3) “The tough ones and the ones who whine”—considerations about expected self-efficacy and 4) “Limitations and opportunities”—thoughts about physical consequences. Conclusion: Even if an amputation is not yet planned, having a diabetic foot ulcer can result in divergent thoughts regarding leg amputation. The findings indicate that amputation is considered a taboo which makes it difficult for the patient to talk about it within either the health care context or with relatives. Health care professionals should therefore be aware of how they communicate regarding leg amputation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2009202
JournalInternational Journal of Qualitative Studies on Health and Well-Being
Issue number1
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 31. Dec 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Lower limb amputation
  • patient perspective
  • perceived self-efficacy
  • psycho-social consequences
  • taboo
  • Diabetic Foot/surgery
  • Humans
  • Amputation, Surgical
  • Diabetes Mellitus
  • Leg


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