Patients with diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN) demonstrate gait alterations compared with their nonneuropathic counterparts, which may place them at increased risk for falling. However, it is uncertain whether patients with DPN also have a greater fear of falling.
A voluntary group of older adults with diabetes was asked to complete a validated fear of falling questionnaire (Falls Efficacy Scale International [FES-I]) and instructed to walk 20 m in their habitual shoes at their habitual speed. Spatiotemporal parameters of gait (eg, stride velocity and gait speed variability) were collected using a validated body-worn sensor technology. Balance during walking was also assessed using sacral motion in the mediolateral and anteroposterior directions. The level of DPN was quantified using vibration perception threshold from the great toe.
Thirty-four diabetic patients (mean ± SD: age, 67.6 ± 9.2 years; body mass index, 30.9 ± 5.7; hemoglobin A1c, 7.9% ± 2.3%) with varying levels of neuropathy (mean ± SD vibration perception threshold, 34.6 ± 22.9 V) were recruited. Most participants (28 of 34, 82%) demonstrated moderate to high concern about falling based on their FES-I score. Age (r = 0.6), hemoglobin A1c level (r = 0.39), number of steps required to reach steady-state walking (ie, gait initiation) (r = 0.4), and duration of double support (r = 0.44) were each positively correlated with neuropathy severity (P < .05). Participants with a greater fear of falling also walked with slower stride velocities and shorter stride lengths (r = −0.3 for both, P < .05). However, no correlation was observed between level of DPN and the participant’s actual concern about falling.
Fear of falling is prevalent in older adults with diabetes mellitus but is unrelated to level of neuropathy. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 103(6): 480–488, 2013)
The relationship between hyperglycemia and adverse outcomes after surgery has been widely documented. Long-term glucose control has been recognized as a risk factor for postoperative complications. In the foot and ankle literature, long-term glycemic control as a potential perioperative risk factor is not well studied. Our goal was to investigate whether hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) level was independently associated with postoperative complications in a retrospective cohort study.
Three hundred twenty-two patients with a diagnosis of diabetes mellitus were enrolled in the study to assess risk factors associated with postoperative foot and ankle surgery complications.
Bivariate analyses showed that HbA1c level and having at least one comorbidity were associated with postoperative infections. However, after adjusting for other covariates, the only significant factor was HbA1c level, with each increment of 1% increasing the odds of infection by a factor of 1.59 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.28–1.99). For postoperative wound-healing complications, bivariate analyses showed that body mass index, having at least one comorbidity, and HbA1c level were significant factors. After adjusting for other covariates, the only significant factors for developing postoperative wound complications were having at least one comorbidity (odds ratio, 2.03; 95% CI, 1.22–3.37) and HbA1c level (each 1% increment) (odds ratio, 1.25; 95% CI, 1.02–1.53).
In this retrospective study, HbA1c level had the strongest association with postoperative foot and ankle surgery complications in patients with diabetes.
First-line therapy for diabetic patients presenting with intermittent claudication includes supervised exercise programs to improve walking distance. However, exercise comes with a variety of barriers and may be contraindicated in certain conditions. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether calf muscle electrostimulation improves claudication distance.
A prospective, one-group, pretest-posttest study design was used on 40 participants living with type 2 diabetes mellitus, peripheral artery disease (ankle brachial pressure index, <0.90), and calf muscle claudication. Calf muscle electrostimulation of varying frequencies (1–250 Hz) was prescribed on both limbs for 1-hour daily sessions for 12 consecutive weeks. The absolute claudication distance (ACD) was measured at baseline and after the intervention.
The recruited cohort (30 men and ten women; mean age, 71 years; mean ankle brachial pressure index, 0.70) registered a mean ± SD baseline ACD of 333.71 ± 208 m. After a mean ± SD of 91.68 ± 6.23 days of electrical stimulation, a significant mean ± SD increase of 137 ± 136 m in the ACD (P = .001, Wilcoxon signed rank test) was registered. Improvement was found to be sex independent, but age was negatively correlated with proportion of improvement (r = –0.361; P = .011, Pearson correlation test).
Electrical stimulation of varying frequencies on ischemic calf muscles significantly increased the maximal walking capacity in claudicants with type 2 diabetes. This therapeutic approach should be considered in patients with impaired exercise tolerance or as an adjunct treatment modality.
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.
Although diabetes mellitus is a biochemical disease, it has biomechanical consequences for the lower extremity. Numerous alterations occur in the function of the foot and lower extremity in people with diabetes. This article evaluates biomechanical alterations of the foot in the presence of neuropathy in patients with diabetes in the context of several theoretical concepts. Further study of these hypotheses will result in a better understanding of how diabetes causes elevated plantar pressures and the potential of strategies to prevent these changes so that the burden of diabetic foot disease can be reduced.
This report presents the results of analyses of statistical data from 3,368 members of the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) who responded to the 1997 Diabetes Survey, conducted from February through March 1997. The purpose of the survey was to determine the extent and methods of treatment of patients with diabetes by doctors of podiatric medicine.
The authors attempt to assess the relationship between exercise, diabetes, and bone metabolism. An animal model system was developed to study the relationship. Animals given streptozotocin to induce a type I diabetic state show elevated plasma glucose and triglyceride levels and a decrease in body weight. Analysis of femurs revealed alterations in copper, phosphorus, and zinc levels in animals with diabetes compared with controls. Mineral analysis of femurs from diabetic animals placed on an exercise regimen revealed values closer to control levels.
Diabetes mellitus is a disease in which the capillary basement membranes are substantially altered. This diabetic microangiopathy is characterized by a thickening of the basement membrane and changes in its permeability characteristic due to a disturbance in the production and distribution of its functional components. Glucose metabolism and insulin imbalance have been implicated in these basement membrane modifications. The authors describe normal capillary basement membrane architecture and then discuss how pathologic changes caused by diabetes mellitus are related to diabetic foot pathology.
Understanding the factors associated with pedal ulceration in patients with diabetes mellitus will increase the successful management of the high-risk diabetic foot and decrease the occurrence of ulcerative events. The authors review the associative factors that have been shown to be involved with pedal ulceration.
This editorial accompanies "Diabetes-Related Major and Minor Amputation Risk Increased During the COVID-19 Pandemic," by Dominick J. Casciato, DPM, Sara Yancovitz, DPM, John Thompson, DPM, Steven Anderson, DPM, Alex Bischoff, DPM, Shauna Ayres, MPH, CHES, and Ian Barron, DPM, available at https://doi.org/10.7547/20-224