What Can Cause Gangrene in the Foot?


Quick Answer

Any condition that affects blood flow can cause gangrene, according to WebMD. Some examples of conditions that can lead to gangrene include diabetes, obesity, Raynaud's phenomenon and peripheral arterial disease.

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What Can Cause Gangrene in the Foot?
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Full Answer

The most common type of gangrene in the feet is dry gangrene, as reported by WebMD. Impaired blood flow causes this type of gangrene. Unlike wet gangrene, which usually occurs when an infection affects the site of an injury, dry gangrene usually arises due to an underlying condition that affects blood flow. Reduced blood flow means that cells do not receive the oxygen and nutrients they need, so they die.

People who have diabetes are at high risk of developing gangrene, according to Mayo Clinic. High blood sugar levels, which occur in diabetes, gradually damage blood vessels, preventing blood flow to extremities such as the feet.

Obesity is another risk factor. Excess weight can compress blood vessels, restricting blood flow, warns Mayo Clinic. Obesity also raises the risk of diabetes and vascular disease.

Other factors that can make gangrene more likely include smoking and taking certain medications. An anticoagulant drug called warfarin and certain immunosuppressive drugs used to treat cancer can increase the risk of gangrene, according to Mayo Clinic.

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