Health authorities reported that aboriginal people in Western Australia were up to 38 times more likely to undergo amputations because of diabetes-related complications than non-indigenous people.
The WA Health Department study said 98 per cent of amputations in indigenous people were associated with diabetes, and there was often a lack of awareness among diabetics and medical practitioners that the illness could lead to chronic feet and leg problems.
The study also found insufficient services for indigenous people with these complications and the services are generally poorly resourced.
Indigenous patients from remote areas who travelled to Perth for amputations often did not stay for their full rehabilitation and first prosthesis because they were lonely and missed the comfort of their home.
This increased the workload on the remaining leg which could risk the likelihood of it to be amputated later.
Previous studies have found that five years after an amputation, 50 per cent of people will either be dead or have lost the other leg.
The report's authors, including leading podiatrists and vascular surgeons, reviewed the trends in amputations for arterial disease or diabetes-related complications in Western Australia between 2000-2008.
Indigenous people aged between 25 and 49 were 27 times more likely to receive minor amputations, for toes or feet, than non-indigenous people.
And they were 38 times more likely to receive major amputations, below or above the knee.
Author Deborah Schoen, a Royal Perth Hospital podiatrist, said the expectation was that the figures would reflect the fact indigenous people were seven more times likely to have diabetes.