The symptoms of gangrene vary depending on the underlying cause. It can affect any part of the body, but typically starts in the toes, feet, fingersor hands.
General symptoms of gangrene include:
In some cases, the affected limb may feel heavy and pressing the skin may produce a crackling sound. These symptoms are caused by a build-up of gas under the skin.
If the area is infected, you may also have other signs related to the underyling infection, such as:
Without treatment the affected tissue will start to die. When this happens, the area changes colour from red to brown to purple or black, before shrivelling up and falling away from the surrounding healthy tissue.
The earlier treatment for gangrene begins, the more effective it's likely to be. Contact your GP immediately if you have:
If your GP isn't available, call NHS 111 or your local out-of-hours service for advice.
If bacteria from gangrene pass into your bloodstream, you could go into septic shock . This is a life-threatening condition that occurs when an infection causes your blood pressure to drop to a dangerously low level.
Signs of septic shock include:
Dial 999 immediately to request an ambulance if you suspect that you or someone you know is in septic shock.
Gangrene is a serious condition in which a loss of blood supply causes tissue to die. It can affect any part of the body but typically starts in the toes, feet, fingers and hands.
The symptoms of gangrene vary depending on the underlying cause. The condition can affect any part of the body, but typically starts in the toes, feet, fingers or hands.
Read about the different types of gangrene, what causes them and who's most at risk.
Find out how gangrene is diagnosed using a combination of physical examination, medical history and tests.
Find out how gangrene is treated. The main priorities are to remove the affected tissue, treat or prevent infection and treat the problem that caused gangrene.
Find out how to lower your risk of developing gangrene including foot care advice, which is very important if you have diabetes, not smoking, eating healthily and exercising regularly.