Medical Questions > Conditions and Diseases > Vascular and Circulatory Disorders Forum

Black toes & poor circulation in legs (Page 1)

My dad has very bad circulation in his legs and feet. He has just had one of the veins in his leg replaced. However, before surgery he had an angiogram that caused the vein to close completely, because of the Holidays he had to wait to have surgery. He had 3 toes turn black and doctors want to let the toes self-amputate which is very painful and takes a very long time to go through this process. He’s now getting cracks in his toes that won’t heal, we have tried Neosporin, Antibiotic cream, crack cream and nothing works. Does anyone have any other suggestions on getting these cracks to heal? He is also a diabetic. HELP!!
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First Helper wheelmaker
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replied February 2nd, 2010
Experienced User
I would suggest taking him to a wound care specialist. There are RNs that specialize in this and only practice in this field. However, I don't know if that will help as he does not have sufficient blood flow for them to heal. I would strongly suggest a second opinion, most of all, b/c letting his toes self-amputate sounds very inhumane. I'm so very sorry. The cracks may be a part of the process that the doctors(self-amputation) expect.
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Users who thank sooz0503 for this post: wheelmaker 

replied February 2nd, 2010
My dad does see a wound care specialist once a week and has a nurse come to the house once a week. They want to let the toes self-amputate because he does have such poor circulation that if they remove the toes they may not heal and would have to keep amputating until it does. His records have been sent to Cleveland Clinic and there is nothing they can do for him. It’s just that the cracks in the toes and under the toes are so painful and no one has a solution to help this problem. It’s hard to watch him go through this pain.
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replied February 22nd, 2010
Just to give an update on my dad's problem. The toes are now thinner and looks mummafied. He's now having to see a pain clinic specialist and having to take stronger meds to relieve pain. This is an awful process to have to go through, his doctor commented that this is an 18 century healing process! Would like a modern day healing process and miracle! The cracks are showing new skin under them. Some of the black is now falling off and new skin is showing their also. Terrible thing to have to go through!!!
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replied March 30th, 2010
It’s been several months since my dad’s toes first started to turn pinkish then turned red. Now they are black and look just horrible the pain is unbearable and we have found out that his feet have no circulation and will have to be amputated on his left leg and probably by the end of the year the other foot will need to be amputated also. It’s very, very sad! I suggest to anyone who has problems with your feet turning red to see a vascular surgeon right away. He did not wait to see a doctor, however, after seeing several doctors and several test only then did they find out that he had blockages that can’t be fixed once they are in your toes.
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replied May 18th, 2010
My mom is going through the EXACT same thing right now. They believe they need to amputate from the knee down Sad I sympathize with your situation. Can you give me an update on how your Dad is doing?
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Users who thank kanata20 for this post: wheelmaker 

replied July 2nd, 2010
My Dad is also going through the same thing. They wanted to do and arterogram to see if his arteries were clogged but cautioned us as to the dye they use for this is VERY hard for the kidneys to filter out of his system and could put him in kidney failure. They did not want to remve the toes until they increased the blood flow to feet. After doing some research on my own, I discovered they can do the arterogram with CO2 contrast verses dye contrast. A much safer test for the kidneys. The only difference between the dye contrast and the CO2 contrast is clarity of the picture....but the radiologist said he is excellent at it and he did a wonderful job!! He now thinks the toes turning black was not due to diabetes after all or poor circulation, but a very small blood clot that went into his foot.....not sure if they can save his foot or not now.....
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replied July 5th, 2010
i had the same thing happen to me , one of my toes turned black and the doctor thought he might have to amputate, he sent me to a vascular specialist , he found the clot in my right leg he used the CO2 and a little angiogram and it didn't hurt my kidneys and I am a diabetic also, he put a stint in my abdomin , i did not lose my toe and the black skin peeled off after a week. Have faith and I will pray for your family.
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Users who thank vcarter14 for this post: wheelmaker 

replied July 13th, 2010
Just to give another update on my Dad, He had to have his left leg amputated below the knee that was at Easter. His right foot started turning black at the toes. They wanted to let them go as long as possible because he is just getting the used to his new leg, temporary one right now. However, the pain was getting to be too much and they did remove all the toe's and they had to cut the tendon in his foot, they do this so the foot doesn't curl up. He has poor circulation but they were trying to save his leg since the other leg healed so well. But now he is in so much pain he can hardly stand it and he is on very strong pain meds. He has to spend most of the time in bed trying to stay off the foot so it will heal. He is a very strong willed person but this is really taken a toll on him. This is a very painful surgery to go through and having to deal with the tendon pain, phantom pain, foot pain and mental pain is not good.
The doctor says this is a very painful surgery and takes a long time to get over the pain, I only pray it’s not too long!!
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replied April 18th, 2011
I'm 47, Lost my left leg above the knee in 2004 and all the toes on my right foot in 2006. Unfortunately my circulation is so poor that they were unable to to do BK(below knee)of the right leg for fear it would not heal. My issue is I can't put any pressure on the right foot due to the pressure sores it causes. Even pushing the pedals in the car is a painful chore. But having the partial right foot does allo me to transfer on one seat to another. I think I have a few years before they take the rest of the right leg. I would suggest if possible to hold on to what ever hasn't turned black for as long as you can. The more they take off the lees functional he will be.
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replied May 16th, 2011
PAD
sorry to hear about your father. when you say takes along time to over the pain do you mean after amputation? my mothers right leg has blockage and her toe has turned black we are waiting to see if another doctor can do a by pass if not they want to amputate the leg. I dont know what she should do either one might kill her or might get gangrene etc.
do you know of any other circulation treatments?
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replied July 6th, 2011
I'm sorry to hear about your mom, my dad had such poor circulation that they tried to just remove his toes to save his leg but he went through so much pain for 6 weeks it was unreal. Now he had his second leg removed and he is doing fantastic! He is up walking without even a cane but still carry's it just in case. He has such a bad heart that they did not offer any circulation treatments. I really hope everything has worked out for your mom. I don't get a chance to get on this site much. I do know having to do it all over again my dad would have had the leg removed a lot sooner that having to go through so much pain.
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replied November 30th, 2010
I wanted to give another update since my last post in July. My dad has lost both of his legs just below the knee's, it has not been easy for him or my mom. But, I'm really happy to say he looks better, feels better and he is walking again with a walker. He is starting to walk up a couple of steps and has even gone hunting again and got a 6 pt. buck! Losing your legs is not the end of the world, it's all in how you deal with it. Hopefully, if you have this problem they can just cut your toes off and they heal. But if you have to lose your legs, you make the best of it and keep living!!
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replied December 1st, 2010
I may not be able to hlp with the cracks but... my dad has poor circulation in his legs and what i do to help him is he sits down on the coach and i sit on the floor and take one of his legs and put my hands right below his knee and pull down.I really seems to help him. WHat its doing is pullin blood down into his feet and toes.Because the reason that feet hurt(in this case) is that the blood s not gitting to the toes and feet.but tke you hands an make a circle(with all of you fingers) and grasp the persons leg.Slowly pull your hands down to around their ankles.this should help.
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replied August 7th, 2011
Poor Circulation in left leg and my left big toe won't heal
Is there a cure for my BLACK TOE NOW??????????
I'M 59 YRS. OLD I don't want to loose my toe.
Do I need to go to a Wound Clinic ASP?
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replied November 2nd, 2011
Sorry I haven't been on the site until now. My dad tried the wound clinic and they were going to try a hyperbarric chamber which will help heal wounds but his heart was to bad to do this. Have you tried a vascular surgeon or a orthapedic surgeon. They may be able to help, however, I have to say, if they are turning black there is no hope and you will probably have to have it cut off. Because it could get infected. You will feel much better after you have this done. My dad said he wouldn't have waited so long if he knew he would feel this good again. I hope everything has worked out for you.
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replied February 27th, 2012
aww bless ya i have 4 toes gone black now ...they said pulse not good on left ankle ...an a swelling on left knee an the pain is made well was till turned waiting now for a call from vaslur doc an having scan an mri to see whats happening ...hope all went well for you bless ya x
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replied October 28th, 2011
Poor Circulation/ Black Toes
This is all too scary! My Dad 87 - Diabete- has 100% blockage from (2) bad stents that are now fractured and Dr 3-can't get past the stents to complete the Angio or SIlverhawk procedure --- we are on our 4th Vascular Surgeon --- the 4th one seems to be hopeful but the waiting to hear back from him is so nerve wracking--
WE've been dealling with this since August 2011 -- the 1st dr was supposed to send us to the 4th Dr -- but failed to do so -- he sent us directly to the 2nd Dr a surgeon and wanted to do the bypass/graft immedialtey -- My Dad didn't like him - so we went to the 3rd Dr that he's had leg angio's from before - and he couldn't get past the Stents that the 1st Dr put in 6 years ago -- the 3rd Dr referred us to the 4th Dr and now we are waitingggggg --- it's so frustrating --- The 4th Dr has his Angios from the 3rd Dr - since the 1st Dr sent him angio films that he couldn't read ---
SO in the meantime -- my Dad's 4th toe is starting to turn black - along with his big toe with a wound from a hang-nail --- this Dr is willing to try something and with the C02 as well-- since my father also has kidney issues --
How long did any of you have to wait to see a specialist -- this Dr 4 -- is a specialist and has dealt with the worse of the worse --- but I'm afraid my dad is getting worse .
Our appt with Dr 4- was just last Thursday Oct 20th --

anything to help calm my nerves would be wonderful.
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replied November 2nd, 2011
We went through about 6 doctors before one the vascular dr. did something about it. But he ended up going to a orthopedic dr. this was also 6 mo. they wanted to just let the toes fall off he was on dilodid (pain medication) - spelling is not correct - my dad was in really, really bad shape and in a lot of pain. Finally they just ended up cutting the legs off below the knee's He now wishes he had them do this sooner. He is doing really well and up walking, hunting, fishing and working around the house. As for the heart, my dad has had several bypasses and grafts and stents. Have you tried the Cleveland Clinic? They really do wonders, however, they could not save my dad's legs either. I really hope everything works out for your dad. I really know what your going through!!
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replied February 27th, 2012
aww bless ya hun ...yer my children worring like mad for me as i have a few turned black now other's are red an sort blistered ...seeing a vasclur dr soon i hope ...but keep your pecker up i say a prayer for u an fam ...i find being possative help's me maybe not my family mind bless them..
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replied November 28th, 2011
How old was your dad when they amputated his legs? It is wonderful that he is doing so well now.
My 81-yr old Mom has a really bad foot ulcer..she is in severe pain. I noticed she has one toe turning blue/black. Her doctor recommends amputation so that she won't be in such pain.
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replied December 19th, 2011
My dad was 68 when he lost both legs. I'm not a doctor but take the doctors advice. If it's turning black in any way it will never go back and she will feel so much better if she has it amputated. Prolonging it will only make her suffer and risk of infection. Good luck and I hope she feels better soon.
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replied December 29th, 2011
This all sounds so frightening. We took my 70 year old mother who is a diabetic Christmas shopping December 17th. When we returned home she removed her shoes and the sides of both little toes were black. It is now the December 29th and both sides of her toes are still black. She keeps telling us that it is just blood blisters that will go away. I am not so sure.
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replied January 20th, 2012
You better take her to see a vascular surgeon.
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replied January 26th, 2012
They just cut off my brother foot ,his toe turn black a year ago, his blood flow to left leg was 905 blocked. He has diabetes, but his toe got color back after surgery.
He got that mrsa staff infection in the hospital and thins went down hill ever since, they cut his foot off but his toes were pink, was not cold but he had these sores on the bottom and top of his foot from what seemed lack of blood flow and the mrsa ifection.
Now they want to cut off his other foot, but there nothing wrong with it right now.
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replied January 31st, 2012
I would get a second opinon!
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replied February 13th, 2012
Hi, my dad is in the same boat.no circulation in his left leg, and a lot of pain. he is in macedonia, his doctor said he has to cut off the leg to the knee. my dads toes is turning black. I just flew in today, my dad was taken to the hospital. I have no idea what to do to help, leave him here or take him back to the states to do it all there. I m not even sure if he is in a condition to fly back home since is a very long way, n we need to change 3 planes.
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replied February 27th, 2012
hya to be honest flying i wouldn't surjest as brother in law lost his leg as they had not picked up his problem in time so it can cause more magor problem's ...i have been tod i can't ...i do hope you all have got the help needed ...after i had a pamidronate infusion it seem's it has brought out my problem that was for sure hiden away there
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replied February 27th, 2012
hya there...aww sorry to hear all those who suffer this ,i had a heart attack 2009 an mini stroke end of that yr...they don't know why but said i have some sort heart dease ...it was found i have brittle bone third vertibrea down spine so gave me small does first time of Pamidronate which help's the bone's an cancer of bone's ...but as i had swelling no one bothered to check it to ,an having to sit for 4-5hrs to have the infusion 13 jan this yr ...i had bone pain at chest they thought my heart so ecg 3 time's whilst on infusion ...got home feet swollen /tingles...with in 2 wks feet gone from that to redness/pain like some one breaking my toes from inside ...now have 6 black toes with swelling underneith an only 2 are normal other's just red blister like ...they decided not give other infusion an said it may of been worse if she had bless her ...she called a vasulur doctor in an he now sending me for a scan on my swelling on knee an my feet,as the pluse not good on left side ...an they think this could be the cause of my heart prob's does anyone know how long it should be left ? thank's pam
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replied March 31st, 2012
no circulation in toes
I have read all of these posts and I am in the same situation with my 87 year old mother. Her toes on right foot, the little, the next, the next and the big toe are all dark reddish and sores. Went to vascular surgeon, did angiogram, could not do an angioplasty because the veins were shot in foot. So they are trying to keep her ambulatory. wash feet night, put iodine on them keep dry. we go every 2-3 weeks. he said he is hoping they fall off. she is on roxicodone and it is not helping. any suggestions. i can't stand to see her in pain!
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replied April 12th, 2012
Wow! I'm 53 and just had a double Aortobifemoral bypass,
left toes were black but returned to normal. After surgery my right big and 2nd toes turned black. They have heal slightly but Doctor said they might have to come off. Was told it was a complication from the surgery, excessive plaque from the veins blocked the toes. "PAIN", look, I've taken every kind of pain meds there are, vicodin, oxycodone, ect, ect. Would ask your doctor to prescribe you methodone, I had 10mg tablets, broke them in half, relief for 8 hrs+, no pain, but the pain returns when it wears off! Little advise, get to a vascular doctor yesterday, don't wait or put it off! This is my personal views, not advise, rainbow Good luck to all.
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replied April 13th, 2012
black toes
Thank you for your suggestion. We did go to vascular doctor and he said just wait until they fall off. He said if they remove toes, no circulation in foot and it won't heal. Have to amputate below knee. You are so young to have had a bypass. It sounds huge operation?How long were you on methodone? How are you now?
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