Foot problems are common in diabetic patients, with neuropathy and peripheral vascular disease being the main causative factors. Identification of high-risk feet can be accomplished by using basic clinical skills and simple equipment. Limb amputation is the most preventable of the long-term diabetes complications and a multidisciplinary approach can achieve a dramatic reduction of major limb amputations.
Antiphospholipid syndrome is an autoimmune disease characterized by vascular thrombosis involving both the arterial and venous systems that can lead to tissue ischemia or end-organ damage. Much of the literature describes various symptoms at initial presentation, but isolated tissue ischemia manifesting as a solitary blue toe is unusual. We discuss a case of a 23-year-old man who presented to the emergency department with a solitary blue fourth digit with minimal erythema and edema, who was suffering from exquisite pain. Following an extensive workup, the patient was diagnosed with antiphospholipid syndrome with thrombi of the vasculature in their lower extremity. With therapeutic anticoagulation, the patient's symptoms subsided and amputation of the digit was prevented.
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.
While there have been several reports of upper and lower extremity amputations secondary to meningitis and purpura fulminans in the literature, the incidence is probably rare. Delmas et al studied five pediatric subjects with gangrene caused by meningococcemia, with four requiring amputation. Weiner reported that all 12 patients in his review received a lower extremity amputation, with several requiring upper extremity amputation. Joint contracture, while not as commonly discussed as amputation, is nonetheless an important and perhaps more common finding. Urbaniak et al indicated that of six patients reviewed, three developed significant joint contractures. With the exception of the gangrenous changes discussed, it was joint contracture that was the most limiting factor in progression to full activity and weightbearing in the authors' subject. Prompt, aggressive physical therapy is tantamount to effecting an acceptable long-term outcome.
The authors undertook a study to evaluate the prevalence of ankle equinus and its potential relationship to high plantar pressure in a large, urban population with diabetes mellitus. The first 1,666 consecutive people with diabetes (50.3% male; mean [±SD] age, 69.1 ± 11.1 years) presenting to a large, urban, managed-care outpatient clinic were enrolled in this longitudinal, 2-year outcomes study. Patients received a standardized medical and musculoskeletal assessment at the time of enrollment, including evaluation at an onsite gait laboratory. Equinus was defined as less than 0° of dorsiflexion at the ankle. The overall prevalence of equinus in this population was 10.3%. Patients with equinus had significantly higher peak plantar pressures than those without the deformity and were at nearly three times greater risk for presenting with elevated plantar pressures. There were no significant differences in age, weight, or sex between the two groups. However, patients with equinus had a significantly longer duration of diabetes than those without equinus. Having a high index of suspicion for this deformity and subsequently addressing it through conservative or surgical means may help to reduce the risk of foot ulceration and amputation. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 92(9): 479-482, 2002)
Increasing amounts of diabetes-focused content is being posted to YouTube with little regulation as to the quality of the content. Diabetic education has been shown to reduce the risk of ulceration and amputation. YouTube is a frequently visited site for instructional and demonstrational videos posted by individuals, advertisers, companies, and health-care organizations. We sought to evaluate the usefulness of diabetic foot care video information on YouTube.
YouTube was queried using the keyword phrase diabetic foot care. Original videos in English, with audio, less than 10 min long within the first 100 video results were evaluated. Two reviewers classified each video as useful or nonuseful/misleading. A 14-point usefulness criteria checklist was used to further categorize videos as most useful, somewhat useful, or nonuseful/misleading. Video sources were categorized by user type, and additional video metrics were collected.
Of 87 included videos, 56 (64.4%), were classified as useful and 31 (35.6%) as nonuseful/misleading. A significant difference in the mean length of useful videos vs nonuseful/misleading videos was observed (3.33 versus 1.73 min; P < .0001). There was no significant difference in terms of popularity metrics (likes, views, subscriptions, etc) between useful and nonuseful/misleading videos.
This study demonstrates that although most diabetic foot care videos on YouTube are useful, many are still nonuseful/misleading. More concerning is the lack of difference in popularity between useful and nonuseful videos. Podiatric physicians should alert patients to possibly misleading information and offer a curated list of videos.
Background: A feasibility study was conducted to characterize the effects of noncontact low-frequency ultrasound therapy for chronic, recalcitrant lower-leg and foot ulcerations.
Methods: The study was an open-label, nonrandomized, baseline-controlled clinical case series. Patients were initially treated with the Mayo Clinic standard of care before the addition of or the switch to noncontact low-frequency ultrasound therapy. We analyzed the medical records of 51 patients (median ± SD age, 72 ± 15 years) with one or more of the following conditions: diabetes mellitus, neuropathy, limb ischemia, chronic renal insufficiency, venous disease, and inflammatory connective tissue disease. All of the patients had lower-extremity ulcers, 20% had a history of amputation, and 65% had diabetes. Of all the wounds, 63% had a multifactorial etiology, and 65% had associated transcutaneous oximetry levels below 30 mm Hg.
Results: The mean ± SD treatment time of wounds during the baseline standard of care control period versus the noncontact low-frequency ultrasound therapy period was 9.8 ± 5.5 weeks versus 5.5 ± 2.8 weeks (P < .0001). Initial and end measurements were recorded, and percent volume reduction of the wound was calculated. The mean ± SD percent volume reduction in the baseline standard of care control period versus the noncontact low-frequency ultrasound therapy period was 37.3% ± 18.6% versus 94.9% ± 9.8% (P < .0001).
Conclusions: Using noncontact low-frequency ultrasound improved the rate of healing and closure in recalcitrant lower-extremity ulcerations. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 97(2): 95–101, 2007)
Foot infections are a common and serious problem in persons with diabetes. Diabetic foot infections (DFIs) typically begin in a wound, most often a neuropathic ulceration. While all wounds are colonized with microorganisms, the presence of infection is defined by ≥2 classic findings of inflammation or purulence. Infections are then classified into mild (superficial and limited in size and depth), moderate (deeper or more extensive), or severe (accompanied by systemic signs or metabolic perturbations). This classification system, along with a vascular assessment, helps determine which patients should be hospitalized, which may require special imaging procedures or surgical interventions, and which will require amputation. Most DFIs are polymicrobial, with aerobic gram-positive cocci (GPC), and especially staphylococci, the most common causative organisms. Aerobic gram-negative bacilli are frequently copathogens in infections that are chronic or follow antibiotic treatment, and obligate anaerobes may be copathogens in ischemic or necrotic wounds.
Wounds without evidence of soft tissue or bone infection do not require antibiotic therapy. For infected wounds, obtain a post-debridement specimen (preferably of tissue) for aerobic and anaerobic culture. Empiric antibiotic therapy can be narrowly targeted at GPC in many acutely infected patients, but those at risk for infection with antibiotic-resistant organisms or with chronic, previously treated, or severe infections usually require broader spectrum regimens. Imaging is helpful in most DFIs; plain radiographs may be sufficient, but magnetic resonance imaging is far more sensitive and specific. Osteomyelitis occurs in many diabetic patients with a foot wound and can be difficult to diagnose (optimally defined by bone culture and histology) and treat (often requiring surgical debridement or resection, and/or prolonged antibiotic therapy). Most DFIs require some surgical intervention, ranging from minor (debridement) to major (resection, amputation). Wounds must also be properly dressed and off-loaded of pressure, and patients need regular follow-up. An ischemic foot may require revascularization, and some nonresponding patients may benefit from selected adjunctive measures. Employing multidisciplinary foot teams improves outcomes. Clinicians and healthcare organizations should attempt to monitor, and thereby improve, their outcomes and processes in caring for DFIs.
There is an increased prevalence of foot ulceration in patients with diabetes, leading to hospitalization. Early wound closure is necessary to prevent further infections and, ultimately, lower-limb amputations. There is no current evidence stating that an elevated preoperative hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) level is a contraindication to skin grafting. The purpose of this review was to determine whether elevated HbA1c levels are a contraindication to the application of skin grafts in diabetic patients.
A retrospective review was performed of 53 consecutive patients who underwent split-thickness skin graft application to the lower extremity between January 1, 2012, and December 31, 2015. A uniform surgical technique was used across all of the patients. A comparison of HbA1c levels between failed and healed skin grafts was reviewed.
Of 43 surgical sites (41 patients) that met the inclusion criteria, 27 healed with greater than 90% graft take and 16 had a skin graft that failed. There was no statistically significant difference in HbA1c levels in the group that healed a skin graft compared with the group in which skin graft failed to adhere.
Preliminary data suggest that an elevated HbA1c level is not a contraindication to application of a skin graft. The benefits of early wound closure outweigh the risks of skin graft application in patients with diabetes.
Enchondroma is the most common benign cartilage bone tumor of the toes. In contrast, the foot is a rare region for chondrosarcoma, and the involvement of phalanges is extremely rare. In this article, we report an unusual case of intermediate chondrosarcoma involving the proximal phalanx of the great toe of a 52-year-old woman who was previously treated with curettage and bone grafting because of misinterpretation of enchondroma at a local hospital. She presented complaining of pain and swelling that she had experienced for a period of 1 year after the first operation. Radiography revealed a lytic lesion with a subtle punctuate calcification and endosteal scalloping in the proximal phalanx of the great toe. Gadolinium-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging confirmed soft-tissue involvement and cortical destruction. Staging evaluation with computed tomographic scan of the chest, abdomen, and pelvis was performed to ensure that there was no metastatic disease. Subsequently, a bone biopsy was performed, and the diagnosis was grade 2 chondrosarcoma. The patient was informed about the recurrence of the lesion and the clinical context on the basis of tumor biology of chondrosarcoma and was offered the option of either amputation or wide resection. She preferred the latter. The patient was treated with wide resection and underwent reconstruction with cement and Kirschner wire. She remains free of disease after 1 year of follow-up.