The purpose of this article is to present reference guidelines to assist clinicians when treating diabetic patients with foot wounds. Diabetic patients with limb-threatening foot ulcers often have multiple coexisting medical conditions that frequently become impediments to the resolution of foot wounds. Each foot wound is unique and its etiology is multifactorial; therefore, each foot wound should be managed differently. The treatment algorithm presented in this article is divided into three categories: Algorithm I describes the treatment of septic foot wounds, which may be considered true podiatric surgical emergencies; Algorithm II describes the treatment of ischemic foot ulcers or gangrene with or without underlying osteomyelitis; and Algorithm III describes the treatment of neuropathic foot ulcers with or without underlying osteomyelitis. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 92(6): 336-349, 2002)
Background: Prediction of amputation would aid clinicians in the management of diabetic foot infections. We aimed to assess the predictive value of baseline and post-treatment levels of acute phase reactants in the outcome of patients with diabetic foot infections.
Methods: We collected data prospectively during minimum follow-up of 6 months in patients with infected diabetic foot ulcers hospitalized in Dokuz Eylul University Hospital between January 1, 2003, and January 1, 2008. After excluding patients who did not attend the hospital for follow-up visits regularly (n = 36), we analyzed data from 165 foot ulcer episodes.
Results: Limb ischemia and osteomyelitis were much more frequent in patients who underwent amputation. Wagner grade, which assesses ulcer depth and the presence of osteomyelitis or gangrene, was higher in patients who needed amputation. Ulcer size was slightly larger in the amputation group. Baseline and post-treatment C-reactive protein levels, erythrocyte sedimentation rates, white blood cell counts, and platelet counts were significantly elevated in patients who underwent amputation. Albumin levels were significantly suppressed in the amputation group. Univariate analysis showed that a 1-SD increase in baseline and post-treatment C-reactive protein levels, erythrocyte sedimentation rates, and white blood cell counts and a 1-SD decrease in post-treatment albumin levels were significantly associated with increased risk of amputation. Post-treatment C-reactive protein level was strongly associated with amputation risk.
Conclusions: Circulating levels of acute phase reactants were associated with amputation risk in diabetic foot infections. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 101(1): 1–6, 2011)
Homeless people live in poverty, with limited access to public health services. They are likely to experience chronic medical conditions, such as diabetes mellitus; however, they do not always receive the necessary services to prevent complications. This study was designed to determine the effectiveness of a volunteer health service outreach to reduce disparity in diabetic foot care for homeless people.
The research was conducted on 21 patients with diabetic ulcers of 930 homeless people visited between 2008 and 2013. Each ulcer was treated with regular medication every week for a mean ± SD of 17.6 ± 12 months. The inclusion criteria were 1) homeless with a previous diagnosis of diabetes or a blood glucose level greater than 126 mg/dL at first check and 2) foot ulcer caused by diabetic vasculopathy or neuropathy. The efficacy of the interventions was assessed against the number of successfully cured diabetic feet based on a reduced initial Wagner classification score for each ulcer.
Clinical improvement was observed in 18 patients (86%), whose pathologic condition was completely resolved after 3 years and, therefore, no longer needed medication. One patient died of septic shock and kidney failure, and two patients needed amputation owing to clinical worsening of ulcers (Wagner class 4 at the last visit).
Most homeless people who have diabetes and diabetic foot encounter many difficulties managing their disease, and a volunteer health-care unit could be a suitable option to bridge these gaps.
Skin grafting provides an effective means of closing chronic wounds. Autografts and allografts are used most often in skin grafting, but Apligraf, a tissue-engineered bilayered human skin equivalent, provides another safe and effective grafting option for treating diabetic, venous, and pressure ulcers. This skin equivalent has an epidermis and dermis similar to human skin, largely due to its derivation from neonatal foreskin. Apligraf is also easily accessible and has shown little immunoreactivity. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 92(1): 19-23, 2002)
A 55-year-old man with poliomyelitis presented with a plantarflexed foot and painful ulceration of the sub–first metatarsophalangeal joint present for many years. A two-stage procedure was performed to bring the foot to 90°, perpendicular to the leg, and resolve the ulceration. The first stage corrected only soft-tissue components. It involved using a hydrosurgery system to debride and prepare the ulcer, a unilobed rotational skin plasty to close the ulcer, and a tendo Achillis lengthening to decrease forefoot pressure. The second stage corrected the osseous deformity with a dorsiflexory wedge osteotomy of the first metatarsal. The ulceration has remained closed since the procedures, with complete resolution of pain.
Background: Diabetic neuropathy leads to progressive loss of sensation, lower-limb distal muscle atrophy, autonomic impairment, and gait alterations that overload feet. This overload has been associated with plantar ulcers even with consistent daily use of shoes. We sought to investigate and compare the influence of diabetic neuropathy and plantar ulcers in the clinical history of diabetic neuropathic patients on plantar sensitivity, symptoms, and plantar pressure distribution during gait while patients wore their everyday shoes.
Methods: Patients were categorized into three groups: a control group (CG; n = 15), diabetic patients with a history of neuropathic ulceration (DUG; n = 8), and diabetic patients without a history of ulceration (DG; n = 10). Plantar pressure variables were measured by Pedar System shoe insoles in five plantar regions during gait while patients wore their own shoes.
Results: No statistical difference between neuropathic patients with and without a history of plantar ulcers was found in relation to symptoms, tactile sensitivity, and duration of diabetes. Diabetic patients without ulceration presented the lowest pressure–time integral under the heel (72.1 ± 16.1 kPa × sec; P = .0456). Diabetic patients with a history of ulceration presented a higher pressure–time integral at the midfoot compared to patients in the control group (59.6 ± 23.6 kPa × sec × 45.8 ± 10.4 kPa × sec; P = .099), and at the lateral forefoot compared to diabetic patients without ulceration (70.9 ± 17.7 kPa sec × 113.2 ± 61.1 kPa × sec, P = .0193). Diabetic patients with ulceration also presented the lowest weight load under the hallux (0.06 ± 0.02%, P = .0042).
Conclusions: Although presenting a larger midfoot area, diabetic neuropathic patients presented greater pressure–time integrals and relative loads over this region. Diabetic patients with ulceration presented an altered dynamic plantar pressure pattern characterized by overload even when wearing daily shoes. Overload associated with a clinical history of plantar ulcers indicates future appearance of plantar ulcers. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 99(4): 285–294, 2009)
Charcot arthropathy is an acute or subacute, often indolent, non-infectious or tumorous osteoarticular destruction of weightbearing skeletal structures in patients with reduced pain perception due to peripheral neuropathy. The authors present a rare case of progressive Charcot arthropathy of the first metatarsophalangeal joint with accompanying ulcer and foot deformity due to peripheral neuropathy. An arthrodesis of the first metatarsophalangeal joint with resection of the hypertrophic bone and osteophytes using a locking plate was performed. Also a condylectomy of the base of the proximal phalanx digitus II and III as well as a shortening osteotomy of the third metatarsal were conducted. The ulcer was debrided and primarily closed by suture. Mobilization was performed without weightbearing in a postoperative shoe for 6 weeks, the ulcer was completely healed and the arthrodesis had fused. Owing to the complexity of Charcot arthropathy careful preoperative evaluation, timing and dimension of surgery as well as treatment of associated comorbidities and sufficient postoperative care is important to reduce the complication rate and improve long-term results. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 102(2): 161–164, 2012)
Negative-Pressure Wound Therapy and Diabetic Foot Amputations
A Retrospective Study of Payer Claims Data
Background: This study was undertaken to assess the benefits of negative-pressure wound therapy (NPWT) versus traditional wound therapies in reducing the incidence of lower-extremity amputations in patients with diabetic foot ulcers.
Methods: Administrative claims data for patients with diabetic foot ulcers from commercial payers (n = 3,524) and Medicare (n = 12,795) were retrospectively analyzed. Patients were divided into NPWT and control/traditional therapy groups on the basis of administrative codes. Risk-adjustment procedures were then performed to match patient risk categories (through total treatment costs) and wound severities (through debridement depth).
Results: The incidence of amputations in the NPWT groups was lower than that in the control groups. For the cost-based risk-adjustment analysis, amputation incidences with NPWT versus traditional therapy were 35% lower in the Medicare sample (10.8% versus 16.6%; P = .0077) and 34% lower in the commercial payer sample (14.1% versus 21.4%; P = .0951). Whereas overall amputation rates increased progressively with increasing wound debridement depth in both control groups, the same increasing trend did not occur in the NPWT groups.
Conclusions: Patients with diabetic foot ulcers in the Medicare sample treated with NPWT had a lower incidence of amputations than those undergoing traditional wound therapy; this finding was evident in wounds of varying depth in both populations studied. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 97(5): 351–359, 2007)
Verrucous skin lesions on the feet of diabetic patients in conjunction with a neuropathic foot ulcer is an uncommon incident. Currently, there are approximately 20 reported cases in the literature. Herein we report two cases of verrucous lesions superimposing a chronic diabetic ulcer. Patients failed several conservative treatments, and several biopsies were performed with inconclusive results, suggesting possible underlying verrucous carcinoma. Given the possibility of underlying malignancy, both patients were treated with wide excision, and both were negative for malignancy, thus confirming verrucous skin lesions on the feet in diabetic neuropathy. We also summarize the current literature on verrucous skin lesions on the feet in diabetic neuropathy.
In contrast to the narrow indications for living skin equivalents, extracellular matrix biomaterials are clinically used in a wide range of wound-healing applications. Given the breadth of possible uses, the goal of this study was to retrospectively compile and analyze the clinical application and effectiveness of an extracellular matrix biomaterial derived from fetal bovine dermis (PriMatrix; TEI Biosciences, Boston, Massachusetts) in patients treated by a single physician and monitored postsurgically in an outpatient wound care center.
A retrospective medical record review was conducted of consecutive patients treated from January 2007 through January 2009 with meshed PriMatrix after sharp/surgical debridement and coverage with standard moist wound therapy dressings.
Twenty-nine patients and 34 wounds were compiled. All of the wounds were unresponsive to conservative treatment owing to complications, including infection, exposed bone or tendon, and other comorbidities known to delay healing. Wounds included 11 diabetic ulcers, 8 venous stasis ulcers, 10 nonhealing traumatic wounds, and 5 other chronic wounds. Thirty of 34 wounds healed, with four patients lost to follow-up. Mean time to healing for diabetic foot ulcers was 105 days with an average of 2.6 PriMatrix applications. Mean time to healing for venous, traumatic, and other chronic wounds was 74 to 82 days with an average of 1.2 to 1.4 PriMatrix applications.
In patients with comorbidities known to delay healing, the implantation of PriMatrix promoted the healing and, ultimately, full reepithelialization of otherwise unresponsive wounds of varied etiology, including those with complications of infection or exposed bone or tendon. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 102(3): 223–232, 2012)