Onychomycosis is a fungal infection of the nail that is often recalcitrant to treatment and prone to relapse. Traditional potassium hydroxide and culture diagnosis is costly and time-consuming. Therefore, molecular methods were investigated to demonstrate effectiveness in diagnosis and to quantify the microbial flora present that may be contributing to disease.
A total of 8,816 clinically suspicious toenail samples were collected by podiatric physicians across the United States from patients aged 0 to 103 years and compared with a control population (N = 20). Next-generation sequencing and quantitative polymerase chain reaction were used to identify and quantify dermatophytes, nondermatophyte molds, and bacteria.
Approximately 50% of suspicious toenails contained both fungi and bacteria, with the dermatophyte Trichophyton rubrum contributing the highest relative abundance and presence in 40% of these samples. Of the remaining 50% of samples, 34% had bacterial species present and 16% had neither. Fungi only were present in less than 1% of samples. Nondermatophyte molds contributed to 11.0% of occurrences in fungus-positive samples. All of the control samples were negative for fungi, with commensal bacterial species composing most of the flora population.
Molecular methods were successful in efficiently quantifying microbial and mycologic presence in the nail. Contributions from dermatophytes were lower than expected, whereas the opposite was true for nondermatophyte molds. The clinical significance of these results is currently unknown.
Phaeohyphomycosis is a spectrum of subcutaneous and systemic infections caused by a variety of dematiaceous fungi. It is an opportunistic disease with an increased incidence in immunocompromised patients. We report a case of a pedal phaeohyphomycotic cyst in an immunocompetent adult male immigrant with the goal of highlighting its clinical presentation, diagnosis, and optimal treatment. A 57-year-old male immigrant from Panama presented with a painless, gradually increasing, large cystic lesion in his left foot, first intermetatarsal space, which had been present for many years. The patient was treated with surgical excision without antifungal therapy. Histologic analysis showed multiple granulomas composed of fibrin and necrosis in the centers surrounded by proliferative palisading fibroblasts admixed with heavily infiltrated neutrophils, plasma cells, macrophages, lymphocytes, and eosinophils. Periodic acid-Schiff and Fontana-Masson stains revealed sporadic, scattered dematiaceous fungal hyphae and pseudohyphae among granulomatous tissues. The mass was diagnosed as a phaeohyphomycotic cyst. Polymerase chain reaction–based sequencing failed to identify the fungal species because of the rarity of the fungal elements in the granulomatous tissues. The patient had no recurrence at a follow-up of 2 years. A phaeohyphomycotic cyst is a rare entity that needs to be differentiated from other benign and malignant lesions. Multiple modalities, including clinical evaluation, radiography, histologic analysis, microbiological culture, and nucleic acid sequencing, should be used for the final diagnosis. Surgical excision is an optimal treatment. Antifungal therapy should be considered based on the patient’s clinical manifestation, surgical excision, and immune functional status.
This prospective longitudinal study assessed whether baseline mean skin temperature measurements are useful in predicting the most common foot-related complications of diabetes mellitus. We evaluated the mean of baseline skin temperatures taken bilaterally from six plantar sites in 1,588 patients with diabetes. There was no difference in skin temperature based on neuropathy, foot laterality, or foot risk category or between people with and without foot deformity and elevated plantar foot pressure. Whereas people with Charcot’s arthropathy had slightly but significantly higher mean temperatures (84.8° ± 3.5° F versus 82.5° ± 4.7° F), this was not true for those who developed ulcers or infections or who underwent amputations. The presence of vascular disease was not associated with lower skin temperatures. Mexican Americans (83.0° ± 4.6° F) and blacks (83.6° ± 4.5° F) had higher mean skin temperatures at baseline than did non-Hispanic whites (81.8° ± 4.6° F). Baseline measurement of nonfocal mean skin temperatures is not an effective means of screening people for future events. Regular assessment of skin temperatures, using the contralateral site as a physiologic control, may be a better use of this technology. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 93(6): 443-447, 2003)
Background: Treatment modalities for acute Achilles tendon rupture can be divided into operative and nonoperative. The main concern with nonoperative treatment is the high incidence of repeated ruptures; operative treatment is associated with risk of infection, sural nerve injury, and wound-healing sequelae. We assessed our experience with a percutaneous operative approach for treating acute Achilles tendon rupture.
Methods: The outcomes of percutaneous surgery in 29 patients (25 men; age range, 24–58 years) who underwent percutaneous surgery for Achilles tendon rupture between 1997 and 2004 were retrospectively evaluated. Their demographic data, subjective and objective evaluation findings, and isokinetic evaluation results were retrieved, and they were assessed with the modified Boyden score and the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society Ankle-Hindfoot Scale.
Results: All 29 patients demonstrated good functional outcome, with no- to mild-limitations in recreational activities and high patient satisfaction. Mean follow-up was 31.8 months. Changes in ankle range of motion in the operated leg were minimal. Strength and power testing revealed a significant difference at 90°/sec for plantarflexion power between the injured and healthy legs but no difference at 30° and 240°/sec or in dorsiflexion. The mean modified Boyden score was 74.3, and the mean Ankle-Hindfoot Scale score was 94.5.
Conclusions: Percutaneous surgery for Achilles tendon rupture is easily executed and has excellent functional results and low complication rates. It is an appealing alternative to either nonoperative or open surgery treatments. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 100(4): 270–275, 2010)
Diabetic foot wounds remain a significant health-care issue. Healing these wounds in a timely manner is of paramount importance because the duration of ulceration correlates with increased rates of infection and amputation, costing billions of dollars yearly. Collagen-based matrices have been used as wound covers and have been shown to improve and expedite healing. We present our experience with equine pericardium biomatrix for the treatment of neuropathic foot wounds.
Thirty-four patients with 37 diabetic foot wounds were evaluated at two institutions prospectively. All of the wounds were debrided, and equine pericardium biomatrix was applied. Secondary dressings were changed every 48 to 72 hours until healed or for 12 weeks after application. Healing rate at 12 weeks, time to wound closure, and complications were evaluated.
Twenty-two men and 12 women (mean age, 56.9 years) were treated and evaluated. Mean and median wound sizes at initial treatment were 715.8 and 440 mm2, respectively. The overall wound healing rate by 12 weeks was 75.7% (n =28). Mean and median times to wound closure were 7.2 and 7.0 weeks, respectively. No device or procedure-related complications were reported.
The use of equine pericardium as a temporary biological scaffold is safe and effective for the treatment of chronic neuropathic foot wounds. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 102(5): 352–358, 2012)
Nerve entrapment, common in diabetes, is considered an associated phenomenon without large consequence in the development of diabetes complications such as ulceration, infection, amputation, and early mortality. This prospective analysis, with controls, of the ulcer recurrence rate after operative nerve decompression (ND) offers an objective perspective on the possibility of frequent occult nerve entrapment in the diabetic foot complication cascade.
A multicenter cohort of 42 patients with diabetic sensorimotor polyneuropathy, failed pharmacologic pain control, palpable pulses, and at least one positive Tinel's nerve percussion sign was treated with unilateral multiple lower-leg external neurolyses for the indication of pain. All of the patients had healed at least one previous ipsilateral plantar diabetic foot ulceration (DFU). This group was retrospectively evaluated a minimum of 12 months after operative ND and again 3 years later. The recurrence risk of ipsilateral DFU in that period was prospectively analyzed and compared with new ulcer occurrence in the contralateral intact, nonoperated control legs.
Operated legs developed two ulcer recurrences (4.8%), and nine contralateral control legs developed ulcers (21.4%), requiring three amputations. Ulcer risk is 1.6% per patient per year in ND legs and 7% in nonoperated control legs (P = .048).
Adding operative ND at lower-leg fibro-osseous tunnels to standard postulcer treatment resulted in a significantly diminished rate of subsequent DFU in neuropathic high-risk feet. This is prospective, objective evidence that ND can provide valuable ongoing protection from DFU recurrence, even years after primary ulcer healing.
The skin on human feet presents unique environments for the proliferation of potentially pathogenic commensals. This study examined microflora changes on healthy intact skin under a semiocclusive dressing on the medial longitudinal arch of the foot to determine changes in growth, distribution, and frequency of microflora under the dressing.
Nine human participants wore a low-adherent, absorbent, semiocclusive dressing on the medial longitudinal arch of the left foot for 2 weeks. An identical location on the right foot was swabbed and used as a control. Each foot was swabbed at baseline, week 1, and week 2. The swabs were cultured for 48 hours. Visual identification, Gram staining, DNase test agar, and a latex slide agglutination test were used to identify genera and species.
Microflora growth was categorized as scant (0–10 colony-forming units [CFU]), light (11–50 CFU), moderate (51–100 CFU), or heavy (>100 CFU). Scant and light growth decreased and moderate and heavy growth increased under the dressing compared with the control. Seven different genera of bacteria were identified. Coagulase-negative Staphylococcus spp appeared most frequently, followed by Corynebacterium spp.
Changes in microflora distribution, frequency, and growth were found under the dressing, supporting historical studies. Microflora changes were identified as an increase in bioburden and reduction in diversity. The application of similar methods, using more sophisticated identification and analysis techniques and a variety of dressings, could lead to a better understanding of bacterial and fungal growth under dressings, informing better dressing selection to assist the healing process of wounds and prevent infection.
Background: Onychomycosis is a chronic fungal nail infection caused predominantly by dermatophytes, and less commonly by nondermatophyte molds and Candida species. Onychomycosis treatment includes oral and topical antifungals, the efficacy of which is evaluated through randomized, double-blind, controlled trials for US Food and Drug Administration approval. The primary efficacy measure is complete cure (complete mycologic and clinical cure). The secondary measures are clinical cure (usually ≤10% involvement of target nail) and mycologic cure (negative microscopy and culture). Some lasers are US Food and Drug Administration approved for the mild temporary increase in clear nail; however, some practitioners attempt to use lasers to treat and cure onychomycosis.
Methods: A systematic review of the literature was performed in July of 2020 to evaluate the efficacy rates demonstrated by randomized controlled trials of laser monotherapy for dermatophyte onychomycosis of the great toenail.
Results: Randomized controlled trials assessing the efficacy of laser monotherapy for dermatophyte toenail onychomycosis are limited. Many studies measured cure rates by means of nails instead of patients, and performed only microscopy or culture, not both. Only one included study reported mycologic cure rate in patients as negative light microscopy and culture (0%). The combined clinical cure rates in short- and long-pulsed laser studies were 13.0%–16.7% and 25.9%, respectively. There was no study that reported the complete cure rate; however, one did report treatment success (mycologic cure [negative microscopy and culture] and ≤10% clinical involvement) in nails as 16.7%.
Conclusions: The effectiveness of lasers as a therapeutic intervention for dermatophyte toenail onychomycosis is limited based on complete, mycologic, and clinical cure rates. However, it may be possible to use different treatment parameters or lasers with a different wavelength to increase the efficacy. Lasers could be a potential management option for older patients and onychomycosis patients with coexisting conditions such as diabetes, liver, and/or kidney diseases for whom systemic antifungal agents are contraindicated or have failed.
Achieving timely healing of foot ulcers can help avoid complications such as infection and amputation; topical oxygen therapy has shown promise in achieving this. We evaluated the clinical effectiveness of Granulox, a hemoglobin spray device designed to deliver oxygen to the surface of wounds, for the healing of foot ulcers.
We conducted a single-center, prospective, randomized controlled trial comparing standard of care (once-weekly podiatric medical clinic visits) versus standard care plus adjunct Granulox therapy twice weekly in adults with foot ulcers. After a 2-week screening phase, patients in whom the index wound had healed by less than 50% were randomized 1:1. Outcome measures were collated during the trial phase at 6 and 12 weeks.
Of 79 patients enrolled, 38 were randomized. After 12 weeks, the median percentage wound size reduction compared with the size of the ulcer at the start of the trial phase was 100% for the control arm and 48% for the Granulox arm (P = .21, Mann-Whitney U test). In the former, eight of 14 foot ulcers had healed; in the latter, four of 15 (P = .14, Fisher exact test). In the control arm, two amputations and one withdrawal occurred, whereas in the Granulox arm, one unrelated death and five withdrawals were recorded.
We could not replicate the favorable healing associated with use of Granulox as published by others. Differences in wound chronicity and frequency of Granulox application might have influenced differences in study results. Granulox might perform best when used as an adjunct for treatment of chronic wounds at least 8 weeks old.
Below-the-knee amputations are regarded as definitive treatment for calcaneal osteomyelitis. They may be less than desirable in patients with a viable midfoot and forefoot. Partial and total calcanectomies have been reported as an alternative for limb salvage. However, the durability of the residual limb is questionable.
A systematic review was undertaken to identify material relating to the potential for limb salvage with partial or total calcanectomy in ambulatory patients with calcaneal osteomyelitis. Studies eligible for inclusion consecutively enrolled ambulatory patients older than 18 years who underwent partial or total calcanectomy without adjunctive free tissue transfer for the treatment of calcaneal osteomyelitis and had a mean follow-up of 12 months or longer.
Sixteen studies involving 100 patients (76 partial and 28 total calcanectomies) met all of the inclusion criteria. Weighted mean follow-up was 33 months. Minor complications with subsequent healing occurred in less than 24% of patients. Most major complications were related to residual soft-tissue infection and osteomyelitis. Approximately 10% of patients required a major lower-extremity amputation. Major complications and major lower-extremity amputations occurred more frequently after total calcanectomy and in patients with a diagnosis of diabetes. Eighty-five percent of patients maintained or improved their ambulatory status postoperatively. Only 3% of patients decreased their ambulatory status postoperatively, becoming unlimited household ambulators.
This systematic review provides evidence that partial or total calcanectomy is a viable option for limb salvage in ambulatory patients with calcaneal osteomyelitis. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 102(5): 396–405, 2012)