Background: Neurologic screening tests are often used to identify and stratify patients at risk for diabetic foot complications such as infections, ulcers, and amputations. Two of the most commonly cited methods are the 5.07 Semmes-Weinstein monofilament (SWM) for loss of protective sensation and vibratory sensation testing. The aim of this study was to determine whether combined SWM and the timed vibration test (TVT) more effectively predicts diabetic foot ulcer (DFU) development compared with each test alone.
Methods: An electronic medical record database search was performed restricted to podiatric medical clinic patients with diabetes and DFU ICD-10 diagnosis codes. Of 200 patients who met the criteria, 24 developed DFUs. A statistical analysis was performed comparing the SWM and TVT at various cutoff times and the combined SWM/TVT in their ability to predict DFUs.
Results: Statistical analysis revealed that the TVT cutoff time of less than 4 sec was superior to the other times for prediction of DFUs. The combined SWM/TVT results at less than 4 sec were superior to each test individually: sensitivity, 87.5%; specificity, 84.7%; positive predictive value, 43.8%; and receiver operating characteristics area under the curve, 0.86.
Conclusions: The SWM combined with TVT was shown to be superior compared with either test alone in discriminating DFU risk. In addition, the TVT cutoff time of less than 4 sec proved to have greater diagnostic yield than other times, including 0 sec. This unexpected finding might impact providers relying on the absence of vibration sensation via tuning fork testing as an optimal marker of DFU risk.
Plantar pressure measurements are commonly used to evaluate foot function in chronic musculoskeletal conditions. However, manually identifying anatomical landmarks is a source of measurement error and can produce unreliable data. The aim of this study was to evaluate intratester reliability associated with manual masking of plantar pressure measurements in patients with gout.
Twenty-five patients with chronic gout (mean disease duration, 22 years) were recruited from rheumatology outpatient clinics. Patients were excluded if they were experiencing an acute gout flare at the time of assessment, had lower-limb amputation, or had diabetes mellitus. Manual masking of peak plantar pressures and pressure-time integrals under ten regions of the foot were undertaken on two occasions on the same day using an in-shoe pressure measurement system. Test-retest reliability was assessed by using intraclass correlation coefficients, SEM, 95% limits of agreement, and minimal detectable change.
Mean peak pressure intraclass correlation coefficients ranged from 0.92 to 0.97, with SEM of 8% to 14%. The 95% limits of agreement ranged from−150.3 to 133.5 kPa, and the minimal detectable change ranged from 30.8 to 80.6 kPa. For pressure-time integrals, intraclass correlation coefficients were 0.86 to 0.94, and SEM were 5% to 29%, with the greater errors observed under the toes. The 95% limits of agreement ranged from −48.5 to 48.8 kPa/sec, and the minimal detectable change ranged from 6.8 to 21.0 kPa/sec.
These findings provide clinicians with information confirming the errors associated with manual masking of plantar pressure measurements in patients with gout. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 101(5): 424–429, 2011)
An essential skill for podiatrists is conservative sharp debridement of foot callus. Poor technique can result in lacerations, infections and possible amputation. This pilot trial explored whether adding simulation training to a traditional podiatry clinical placement improved podiatry student skills and confidence in conservative sharp debridement, compared with traditional clinical placement alone.
Twenty-nine podiatry students were allocated randomly to either a control group or an intervention group on day 1 of their clinical placement. On day 4, the intervention group (n = 15) received a 2-hour simulation workshop using a medical foot-care model, and the control group (n = 14) received a 2-hour workshop on compression therapy. Both groups continued to learn debridement skills as opportunities arose while on clinical placement. The participants' debridement skills were rated by an assessor blinded to group allocation on day 1 and day 8 of their clinical placement. Participants also rated their confidence in conservative sharp debridement using a questionnaire. Data were analyzed using logistic regression (skills) and analysis of covariance (confidence), with baseline scores as a covariate.
At day 8, analysis showed that those in the intervention group were 16 times more likely to be assessed as competent (95% confidence interval, 1.6–167.4) in their debridement skills and reported increased confidence in their skills (mean difference, 3.2 units; 95% confidence interval, 0.5–5.9) compared with those in the control group.
This preliminary evidence suggests that incorporating simulation into traditional podiatry clinical placements may improve student skills and confidence with conservative sharp debridement.
We sought to show the biomechanical and morphometric properties of flexor hallucis longus (FHL) and flexor digitorum longus (FDL) tendon grafts harvested by specific surgical approaches and to assess the contribution of FHL slips to the long flexor tendons of the toes.
Thirteen fresh-frozen amputated feet (average age, 79 years) were dissected. The connections between the FHL and FDL tendons and the contribution of FHL slips to the long flexor tendons were classified. The biomechanical properties of the tendons and slips were measured using a tensile device.
The connections between the FHL and FDL tendons were reviewed in two groups. Group 1 had FHL slips (11 cases) and group 2 had cross-slips (two cases). The FHL slips joined the second and third toe long flexor tendon structures. Tendon length decreased significantly from the second to the fifth toe (P < .001). Apart from the second toe tendon being thicker than that of the fourth toe (P = .02) and Young's modulus being relatively smaller in the third versus the fourth toe tendon (P = .01), biomechanical and morphometric properties of second to fourth tendons were similar. Mechanical properties of those tendons were significantly different from fifth toe tendons and FHL slips. Morphometric and biomechanical properties of FHL slips were similar to those of the fifth toe tendon.
Herein, FHL slips were shown to have biomechanical properties that might contribute to flexor functions of the toes. During the harvesting of tendon grafts from the FHL by minimally invasive incision techniques from the distal plane of the master knot of Henry, cutting slips between FHL and FDL tendons could be considered a cause of postoperative function loss in toes.
In this case presentation, the diagnosis was based solely on the histopathologic examination of tissue taken at the time of the first surgery. Subsequent cultures did not reveal any growth of organisms that would cause Madura foot. The patient must be monitored periodically, for it is rare that such an infection is cured with surgery other than amputation.
A case of angiosarcoma of the lower extremity was presented. This rare but highly malignant soft tissue tumor usually presents as a raised pigmented lesion. Wide surgical excision or amputation is the treatment of choice. Radiotherapy may offer some relief in cases that are inoperable.
By following a systematic approach to the patient history, physical examination, and laboratory analysis in cases of infections, rapid and accurate therapeutic intervention becomes possible. This action can prevent possibly devastating infectious complications, ranging from partial amputation to death. The current litigious climate dictates thorough evaluation and documentation of all infectious diseases of the lower extremity.
This article discusses the advantages and disadvantages of primary wound healing as compared with primary amputation in individuals with chronic diabetic foot wounds. The authors review the potential benefits of vascular surgical procedures and advanced dressings, including two of the most promising modalities in modern wound care: growth factors and bioengineered skin. In this era of cost-conscious health-care administration, it is incumbent on the practitioner to consider not only the basic science of wound care, but also the economic aspect of treatment rendered. These various interventions, dressings, growth factor delivery systems, and new modalities could significantly reduce healing time, thereby reducing the risk of infection, hospitalization, and amputation while improving quality of life. If so, they may be truly cost-effective.
Multiple surgical strategies are available for managing the infected diabetic foot at risk for amputation. The authors present their experience with the closed instillation system in the management of 30 such cases in 29 patients over a 5-year period. Data were collected from the hospital records of neuropathic patients presenting with deep-plantar-space infections or presumed acute osteomyelitis. All 29 patients were male; 57% had marginal or poor vascular supply, and 83% were nutritionally compromised or had proteinuria. At the conclusion of the study, 34% of the patients were dead, reflecting the severity of comorbid conditions found in this population. Despite the marginal healing capacity of these patients, the procedure had a 90% success rate, as defined by expeditious return to prior level of functioning and residential living situation without need for re-operation or higher-level amputation.
The author describes an effort that demonstrates a successful partnership between a professional education program in podiatric medicine, the Pennsylvania State Health Department, and the Professional Diabetes Academy, which served as the catalyst for health promotion, prevention, and education. Similar programs through adaptations geared to local resources could be developed as a demonstration of direct secondary prevention of the complications of diabetes in the older population and have the potential to help meet national goals to significantly reduce amputations.