Osteomyelitis is one of the most feared sequelae of diabetic foot ulceration, which often leads to lower-extremity amputation and disability. Early diagnosis of osteomyelitis increases the likelihood of successful treatment and may limit the amount of bone resected, preserving ambulatory function. Although a variety of techniques exist for imaging the diabetic foot, standard radiography is still the only in-office imaging modality used today. However, radiographs lack sensitivity and specificity, making it difficult to diagnose bone infection at its early stages. In this report, we describe our initial experience with a cone beam computed tomography (CBCT)–based device, which may serve as an accurate and readily available tool for early diagnosis of osteomyelitis in a patient with diabetes. Two patients with infected diabetic foot ulcers were evaluated for osteomyelitis using radiography and CBCT. Positive imaging findings were confirmed by bone biopsy. In both patients, CBCT captured early osteolytic changes that were not apparent on radiographs, leading to early surgical intervention and successful treatment. The CBCT was helpful in facilitating detection and early clinical intervention for osteomyelitis in two diabetic patients with foot ulcers. These results are encouraging and warrant future evaluation.
Although numerous studies suggest the benefit of electrical stimulation (E-Stim) therapy to accelerate wound healing, the underlying mechanism of action is still debated. In this pilot study, we examined the potential effectiveness of lower-extremity E-Stim therapy to improve tissue perfusion in patients with diabetic foot ulcers.
Thirty-eight patients with diabetic foot ulcers underwent 60 min of active E-Stim therapy on acupuncture points above the level of the ankle joint using a bioelectric stimulation technology platform. Perfusion changes in response to E-Stim were assessed by measuring skin perfusion pressure (SPP) at baseline and during 30 and 60 min of therapy; retention was assessed 10 min after therapy. Tissue oxygen saturation (SatO2) was measured using a noninvasive near-infrared camera.
Skin perfusion pressure increased in response to E-Stim therapy (P = .02), with maximum improvement observed at 60 min (11%; P = .007) compared with baseline; SPP reduced 10 min after therapy but remained higher than baseline (9%; P = .1). Magnitude of improvement at 60 min was negatively correlated with baseline SPP values (r = –0.45; P = .01), suggesting that those with lower perfusion could benefit more from E-Stim therapy. Similar trends were observed for SatO2, with statistically significant improvement for a subsample (n = 16) with moderate-to-severe peripheral artery disease.
This study provides early results on the feasibility and effectiveness of E-Stim therapy to improve skin perfusion and SatO2. The magnitude of benefit is higher in those with poorer skin perfusion. Also, the effects of E-Stim could be washed out after stopping therapy, and regular daily application might be required for effective benefit in wound healing.
One of the challenges after central ray resection is a large soft-tissue defect. Many authors have reported the use of external fixators as a means of narrowing the forefoot. Ours is the first article to report an interesting case using widely available and inexpensive tools such as Kirschner and cerclage wires as an external fixation means of narrowing the forefoot after a complete second-ray resection and extensive soft-tissue debridement for a severe diabetic foot ulcer. This simple yet inexpensive technique is easy to perform for any foot and ankle surgeon at any hospital or surgical center.
Although total-contact cast (TCC) systems are considered the gold standard for off-loading plantar ulcers, less than 6% of patients with diabetic foot ulcers receive them due to negative perceptions of special technique requirements and time investment in their application and removal. We compared the ease of use and casting time of four TCC systems.
Four novice casters applied each of the four TCC systems three times using the manufacturer's written instructions for cast application and removal of each cast type. For each TCC system, casters also provided ratings of quality and effectiveness, their level of confidence in applying each system, and overall ease of use.
The time to complete the first application of each cast type was not different among TCC systems. However, by the third application, TCC-EZ had a significantly faster application time than the other three TCC systems. In addition, TCC-EZ was considered better overall in packaging and instructions, quality of cast components, and casting method than the other TCC systems. Half of the casters rated TCC-EZ and MedE-Kast as the easiest to apply after the third and final trial, and TCC-EZ and MedE-Kast were rated as being the cast chosen to use in the casters' clinical practices.
One of the obstacles to use of TCC systems, despite being recognized as the gold standard of off-loading, is the perception of a prolonged learning curve on application. This study demonstrated that TCC-EZ can be applied by novice casters in less than 14 minutes after their third application experience.
Insoles are commonly used to assist in the prevention of diabetic neuropathic foot ulceration. Insole replacement is often triggered only when foot lesions deteriorate, an indicator that functional performance is comprised and patients are exposed to unnecessary ulcer risk. We investigated the durability of insoles used for ulcer prevention in neuropathic diabetic feet over 12 months.
Sixty neuropathic individuals with diabetes were provided with insoles and footwear. Insole durability over 12 months was evaluated using an in-shoe pressure measurement device and through repeated measurement of material depth at the first metatarsal head and the heel seat. Analysis of variance was performed to assess change across time (at issue, 6 months, and 12 months).
Analyses were conducted using all available data (n = 43) and compliant data (n = 18). No significant difference was found in the reduction of mean peak pressure tested across time (P < .05). For both sites, significant differences in insole depth were identified between issue and 6 months and between issue and 12 months but not between 6 and 12 months (P < .05). Most insole compression occurred during the initial 6 months.
Visual material compression does not seem to be a reliable indicator of insole usefulness. Frequency of insole replacement is best informed by a functional review of effect determined using an in-shoe pressure measurement system. These results suggest that insoles for diabetic neuropathic patients can be effective in maintaining peak pressure reduction for 12 months regardless of wear frequency.
Emergency department visits for lower extremity complications of diabetes are extremely common throughout the world. Surprisingly, recent data suggest that such visits generate an 81.2% hospital admission rate with an annual bill of at least $1.2 billion in the United States alone. The likelihood of amputation and other subsequent adverse outcomes is strongly associated with three factors: 1) wound severity (degree of tissue loss), 2) ischemia, and 3) foot infection. Using these factors, this article outlines the basic principles needed to create an evidence-based, rapid foot assessment for diabetic foot ulcers presenting to the emergency department, and suggests the establishment of a “hot foot line” for an organized, expeditious response from limb salvage team members. We present a nearly immediate assessment and referral system for patients with atraumatic tissue loss below the knee that has the potential to vastly expedite lower extremity triage in the emergency room setting through greater collaboration and organization.
A case report is presented of a 65-year-old diabetic woman with an 18-month history of a penetrating ulcer of the plantar aspect of the first metatarsal head with associated sepsis of the first metatarsophalangeal joint and adjacent underlying osteomyelitis. Salvage of the first metatarsophalangeal joint was performed through aggressive soft-tissue and osseous debridement, external fixation with antibiotic-loaded polymethyl methacrylate bone cement, and delayed interpositional autogenous iliac crest bone graft arthrodesis. Osseous incorporation of the interposed bone graft occurred 12 weeks postoperatively. No soft-tissue or osseous complications occurred during the postoperative period, and at 1-year follow-up there was no evidence of ulceration recurrence, transfer ulceration, shoe-fit problems, or gait abnormalities. A detailed review of the literature on the use of external fixation and interpositional bone graft distraction arthrodesis of the first metatarsophalangeal joint is presented. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 94(5): 492–498, 2004)
This randomized, prospective, multicenter, open-label study was designed to test whether a topical, electrolyzed, superoxidized solution (Microcyn Rx) is a safe and effective treatment for mildly infected diabetic foot ulcers.
Sixty-seven patients with ulcers were randomized into three groups. Patients with wounds irrigated with Microcyn Rx alone were compared with patients treated with oral levofloxacin plus normal saline wound irrigation and with patients treated with oral levofloxacin plus Microcyn Rx wound irrigation. Patients were evaluated on day 3, at the end of treatment on day 10 (visit 3), and 14 days after completion of therapy for test of cure (visit 4).
In the intention-to-treat sample at visit 3, the clinical success rate was higher in the Microcyn Rx alone group (75.0%) than in the saline plus levofloxacin group (57.1%) or in the Microcyn Rx plus levofloxacin group (64.0%). Results at visit 4 were similar. In the clinically evaluable population, the clinical success rate at visit 3 (end of treatment) for patients treated with Microcyn Rx alone was 77.8% versus 61.1% for the levofloxacin group. The clinical success rate at visit 4 (test of cure) for patients treated with Microcyn Rx alone was 93.3% versus 56.3% for levofloxacin plus saline–treated patients. This study was not statistically powered, but the high clinical success rate (93.3%) and the P value (P = .033) suggest that the difference is meaningfully positive for Microcyn Rx–treated patients.
Microcyn Rx is safe and at least as effective as oral levofloxacin for mild diabetic foot infections. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 101(6): 484–496, 2011)
We report an unusual case of Aeromonas hydrophilia septicemia in a nonmobile diabetic patient secondary to contaminated well water used for bathing with a portal of entry through chronic forefoot and heel ulcers. To date, there are no documented cases similar to this patient's presentation. Aeromonas hydrophilia is commonly distributed among aquatic environments and tends to be found during warmer months. It is a rare cause of disease but can be life threatening and deadly, as in our case, in immunocompromised individuals. As podiatric physicians, we must remain diligent and have a high index of suspicion to identify patients at risk for this rare but serious infection and administer treatment aggressively to limit morbidity and mortality.
The structure, classification, function, and regulation of matrix metalloproteinases in normal and abnormal wound healing is discussed. Results from key studies suggest that neutrophil-derived matrix metalloproteinase 8 (MMP-8) is the predominant collagenase present in normal healing wounds, and that overexpression and activation of this collagenase may be involved in the pathogenesis of nonhealing chronic leg ulcers. Excessive collagenolytic activity in these chronic wounds is possible because of the reduced levels of tissue inhibitor metalloproteinase 1 (TIMP-1). However, until recently, there have been no studies evaluating levels of matrix metalloproteinase or tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinase activity in chronic diabetic foot wounds. Improving basic knowledge and pharmaceutical intervention in this area ultimately may help clinicians identify and proactively intervene in an effort to prevent normal wounds from becoming chronic. This may prevent the high prevalence of morbidity associated with this significant health problem. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 92(1): 12-18, 2002)