Retrograde intramedullary nailing for tibiotalocalcaneal arthrodesis (TTCA) is used for severe hindfoot deformities, end-stage arthritis, and limb salvage. The procedure is technically demanding, with complications such as infection, hardware failure, nonunion, osteomyelitis, and possible limb loss or death. This study reports the outcomes and complications of patients undergoing TTCA with a femoral nail, which is widely available and offers an extensive range of lengths and diameters.
We performed a retrospective review of 104 patients who underwent 109 TTCAs using a femoral nail as the primary procedure (January 2006 through December 2016). Demographic data, risk factors, and outcomes were evaluated.
At final follow-up, the overall clinical union rate was 89 of 109 (81.7%). Diabetes mellitus was negatively associated with limb salvage (P = .03), and peripheral neuropathy (P = .02) and Charcot's neuroarthropathy (P = .03) were negatively associated with clinical union. Only four patients (3.8%) underwent proximal amputation, at an average of 6.1 months, and 11 patients (10.6%) died, at a mean of 38.0 months. The most common complication was ulceration in 27 of 109 limbs (24.8%), followed by infection in 25 (22.9%). Twenty-three patients (22.1%) underwent revision procedures, at a mean of 9.4 months. Thirteen of these 23 patients (56.5%) had antibiotic cement rod spacers/rods for deep infection–related complications.
Use of a femoral nail has been shown to provide similar outcomes and limb salvage rates compared with other methods of TTCA reported for similar indications in the literature.
Diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN) is an essential precursor leading to diabetic limb loss. Neurologic screening tests, including the 128-Hz tuning fork (TF), have long been used to identify and track the progression of DPN, thereby guiding the implementation of preventive strategies. Although a sensitive indicator of neuropathy, shortcomings of TF testing include the lack of standardization and quantification of clinical findings. In an attempt to overcome these limitations, a novel 128-Hz electronic TF (ETF) prototype has been developed that is capable of performing accurate timed vibration tests (TVTs). This study was designed to assess the ability of the ETF to detect sensory impairment compared with three established neurologic screening methods: the Semmes-Weinstein monofilament test, the biothesiometer, and the sharp/dull discrimination test.
Fifty-five test patients were recruited from the primary author's practice and enrolled according to an approved protocol. The 10-g Semmes-Weinstein monofilament test and the sharp/dull discrimination test were administered in standard fashion to the plantar aspects of digits 1 and 5 bilaterally. The ETF and the biothesiometer (25-V setting) were applied to the dorsal aspects of the distal phalanx of the hallux and fifth metatarsal head bilaterally.
The sensitivity and specificity of neuropathy detection for the ETF were 0.953 and 0.761, respectively, using conventional tests as reference standards.
Performance of TVTs with the ETF detected sensory impairment compared with three conventional neurologic screening methods. Given these findings, the ETF could facilitate the use of standardized TVTs as an indicator of DPN progression.
Foot pain and lower-limb neuroischemia in diabetes mellitus is common and can be debilitating and difficult to treat. We report a comparison of orthotic materials to manage foot pain in a 59-year-old man with type 1 diabetes mellitus, peripheral neuropathy, peripheral arterial disease, and a history of foot ulceration. We investigated a range of in-shoe foot orthoses for comfort and plantar pressure reduction in a cross-sectional study. The most comfortable and most effective pressure-reducing orthoses were subsequently evaluated for pain relief in a single system alternating-treatment design. After 9 weeks, foot pain was completely resolved with customized multidensity foot orthoses. The outcome of this case study suggests that customized multidensity foot orthoses may be a useful intervention to reduce foot pain and maintain function in the neuroischemic diabetic foot. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 98(2): 143–148, 2008)
Background: An observational study was conducted to assess the prevalence of onychomycosis in clinically suspected diabetic neuropathic patients and to assess the reliability of the diagnosis.
Methods: One hundred successive type 1 and 2 diabetic patients with diabetic neuropathy were followed. Diabetic neuropathy was defined by a vibration perception threshold greater than 25 V and onychomycosis by clinical diagnosis. Samples of the most affected nail were taken. Potassium hydroxide testing and culture were performed. Photographs of the nails were used by two dermatologists for diagnosis.
Results: The mean ± SE age was 62.3 ± 11.4 years for the 20 onychomycotic patients and 60.3 ± 10.4 years for the entire cohort; 14 onychomycotic patients (70%) were male versus 56 in the full cohort (56%) (P < .05). The prevalence of onychomycosis was 20% (culture and potassium hydroxide test positive) and 24% (culture positive). Twenty or 30 patients were positive by the potassium hydroxide test, depending on the investigator. The most frequent pathogen found was Trichophyton rubrum (11 of 20 patients; 55%). The positive predictive values of the dermatologist’s diagnoses were 57.8% and 35.6%, and the negative predictive values were 85.0% and 90.5%. The two expert’s results were significantly different (P < .05).
Conclusions: The diagnosis of onychomycosis is difficult to make. The diagnostic methods commonly used are not satisfactory. If onychomycosis is dangerous for the diabetic foot, a better diagnostic method is needed. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 99(2): 135–139, 2009)
Therapeutic Options for Diabetic Foot Infections
A Review with an Emphasis on Tissue Penetration Characteristics
Foot complications are common in diabetic patients; foot ulcers are among the more serious consequences. These ulcers frequently become infected, and if not treated promptly and appropriately, diabetic foot infections can lead to septic gangrene and amputation. Foot infections may be classified as mild, moderate, or severe; this largely determines the approach to therapy. Staphylococcus aureus is the most common pathogen in these infections, and the increasing incidence of methicillin-resistant S aureus during the past two decades has further complicated antibiotic treatment. Chronic infections are often polymicrobial. Physiologic changes, and local and systemic inflammation, can affect the plasma and tissue pharmacokinetics of antimicrobial agents in diabetic patients, leading to impaired target-site penetration. Knowledge of the serum and tissue concentrations of antibiotics in diabetic patients is, therefore, important for choosing the optimal drug and dose. This article reviews the commonly used therapeutic options for treatment, including many newer antibiotics developed to target multidrug-resistant gram-positive bacteria, and includes available data relating specifically to the tissue penetration of these agents. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 100(1): 52–63, 2010)
Foot Kinetic and Kinematic Profile in Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus with Peripheral Neuropathy
A Hospital-Based Study from South India
A kinetic change in the foot such as altered plantar pressure is the most common etiological risk factor for foot ulcers in people with diabetes mellitus. Kinematic alterations in joint angle and spatiotemporal parameters of gait have also been frequently observed in participants with diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN). Diabetic peripheral neuropathy leads to various microvascular and macrovascular complications of the foot in type 2 diabetes mellitus. There is a gap in the literature for biomechanical evaluation and assessment of type 2 diabetes mellitus with DPN in the Indian population. We sought to assess and determine the biomechanical changes, including kinetics and kinematics, of the foot in DPN.
This cross-sectional study was conducted at a diabetic foot clinic in India. Using the purposive sampling method, 120 participants with type 2 diabetes mellitus and DPN were recruited. Participants with active ulceration or amputation were excluded.
The mean ± SD age, height, weight, body mass index, and diabetes duration were 57 ± 14 years, 164 ± 11 cm, 61 ± 18 kg, 24 ± 3 kg/m2, and 12 ± 7 years, respectively. There were significant changes in the overall biomechanical profile and clinical manifestations of DPN. The regression analysis showed statistical significance for dynamic maximum plantar pressure at the forefoot with age, weight, height, diabetes duration, body mass index, knee and ankle joint angle at toe-off, pinprick sensation, and ankle reflex (R = 0.71, R2 = 0.55, F12,108 = 521.9 kPa; P = .002).
People with type 2 diabetes mellitus and DPN have significant changes in their foot kinetic and kinematic parameters. Therefore, they could be at higher risk for foot ulceration, with underlying neuropathy and biomechanically associated problems.
The Amputation Prevention Initiative is a project conducted jointly by the Massachusetts Public Health Association and the Massachusetts Podiatric Medical Society that seeks to study methods to reduce nontraumatic lower-extremity amputations from diabetes.
To determine the rate of diabetes-related lower-extremity amputations in Massachusetts and identify the groups most at risk, hospital billing and discharge data were analyzed. To examine the components of the diabetic foot examination routinely performed by general practitioners, surveys were conducted in conjunction with physician meetings in Massachusetts (n = 149) and in six other states (n = 490).
The average age-adjusted number of diabetes-related lower-extremity amputations in 2004 was 30.8 per 100,000 and 5.3 per 1,000 diabetic patients in MA, with high-risk groups being identified as men and black individuals. Among the general practitioners surveyed in Massachusetts, only 2.01% reported routinely conducting all four key components of the diabetic foot examination, with 28.86% reporting not performing any components.
These findings suggest that many general practitioners may be failing to perform the major components of the diabetic foot examination believed to prevent foot ulcers and lower-extremity amputations.
Randomized trials must be of high methodological quality to yield credible, actionable findings. The main aim of this project was to evaluate whether there has been an improvement in the methodological quality of randomized trials published in the Journal of the American Podiatric Medical Association (JAPMA).
Randomized trials published in JAPMA during a 15-year period (January 1999 to December 2013) were evaluated. The methodological quality of randomized trials was evaluated using the PEDro scale (scores range from 0 to 10, with 0 being lowest quality). Linear regression was used to assess changes in methodological quality over time.
A total of 1,143 articles were published in JAPMA between January 1999 and December 2013. Of these, 44 articles were reports of randomized trials. Although the number of randomized trials published each year increased, there was only minimal improvement in their methodological quality (mean rate of improvement = 0.01 points per year). The methodological quality of the trials studied was typically moderate, with a mean ± SD PEDro score of 5.1 ± 1.5. Although there were a few high-quality randomized trials published in the journal, most (84.1%) scored between 3 and 6.
Although there has been an increase in the number of randomized trials published in JAPMA, there is substantial opportunity for improvement in the methodological quality of trials published in the journal. Researchers seeking to publish reports of randomized trials should seek to meet current best-practice standards in the conduct and reporting of their trials.
Diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN) is a common cause of many lower-extremity complications. This case study illustrates the potential perils of pet ownership associated with diabetes and neuropathy. The case describes an incident resulting in traumatic digital amputations inflicted by a patient’s pet feline while she was sleeping. In presenting this case, the potential risks of pet ownership for patients with DPN are discussed along with a review of the relevant literature. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 103(5): 441–444, 2013)
Maggot Therapy in “Lower-Extremity Hospice” Wound Care
Fewer Amputations and More Antibiotic-Free Days
We sought to assess, in a case-control model, the potential efficacy of maggot debridement therapy in 60 nonambulatory patients (mean ± SD age, 72.2 ± 6.8 years) with neuroischemic diabetic foot wounds (University of Texas grade C or D wounds below the malleoli) and peripheral vascular disease. Twenty-seven of these patients (45%) healed during 6 months of review. There was no significant difference in the proportion of patients healing in the maggot debridement therapy versus control group (57% versus 33%). Of patients who healed, time to healing was significantly shorter in the maggot therapy than in the control group (18.5 ± 4.8 versus 22.4 ± 4.4 weeks). Approximately one in five patients (22%) underwent a high-level (above-the-foot) amputation. Patients in the control group were three times as likely to undergo amputation (33% versus 10%). Although there was no significant difference in infection prevalence in patients undergoing maggot therapy versus controls (80% versus 60%), there were significantly more antibiotic-free days during follow-up in patients who received maggot therapy (126.8 ± 30.3 versus 81.9 ± 42.1 days). Maggot debridement therapy reduces short-term morbidity in nonambulatory patients with diabetic foot wounds. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 95(3): 254–257, 2005)