The timely and accurate noninvasive assessment of peripheral arterial disease is a critical component of a limb preservation initiative in patients with diabetes mellitus. Noninvasive vascular studies can be useful in screening patients with diabetes for peripheral arterial disease. In patients with clinical signs or symptoms, noninvasive vascular studies provide crucial information on the presence, location, and severity of peripheral arterial disease and an objective assessment of the potential for primary healing of an index wound or a surgical incision. Appropriately selected noninvasive vascular studies are important in the decision-making process to determine whether and what type of intervention might be most appropriate given the clinical circumstances. Hemodynamic monitoring is likewise important after either an endovascular procedure or a surgical bypass. Surveillance studies, usually with a combination of physiologic testing and imaging with duplex ultrasound, accurately identify recurrent disease before the occurrence of thrombosis, allowing targeted reintervention. Noninvasive vascular studies can be broadly grouped into three general categories: physiologic or hemodynamic measurements, anatomical imaging, and measurements of tissue perfusion. These types of tests and suggestions for their appropriate application in patients with diabetes are reviewed. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 100(5): 406–411, 2010)
Background: In diabetic patients with complications from peripheral neuropathy, the hyperpressure areas can rapidly lead to ulcerative lesions in the absence of protective sensation. Partial digital silicone orthoses could provide an innovative and functional therapeutic solution in the management of preulcerative areas of the forefoot in neuropathic diabetic patients. We clinically tested this hypothesis.
Methods: Digital off-loading silicone padding was prepared for 89 neuropathic patients with deformities and localized hyperkeratosis in the forefoot. After 3 months and in basal conditions, the number of areas of hyperkeratosis was evaluated together with the hardness of the skin, the number of active lesions, and any adverse events associated with use of the orthosis. The patients were compared to a control group of 78 randomized patients undergoing standard therapy. In a subgroup of 10 patients, a static and dynamic biomechanical evaluation was also conducted with a computerized podobarometric platform.
Results: Both the number of lesions and the prevalence of hyperkeratosis and skin hardness were significantly lower (P < .01) in the group treated with the silicone orthoses than in the control group. No adverse events were reported during the 3 months of observation. The podobarometric analysis highlighted a significant (P < .001) reduction of peak pressure in the areas undergoing orthotic correction.
Conclusions: Silicone padding is effective and safe in the prevention of lesions in neuropathic patients at high risk of ulceration and significantly reduces the incidence of new lesions in the 3-month follow-up period compared to standard treatment. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 99(1): 28–34, 2009)
Diabetes is a major chronic disease with high morbidity and mortality. Diabetic preventive care services are essential in the management and outcome of the disease. More than other preventive diabetic care services, preventive care of diabetic retinopathy has been emphasized and recommended by practitioners and insurance companies. We investigated the status of preventive care in the diabetic population.
Information was collected from 420 outpatients aged 30 to 80 years. The patients were divided into two groups: those with well-controlled blood sugar levels (hemoglobin A1c [HbA1c] level ≤7%) and those with uncontrolled blood sugar levels (HbA1c level >7%).
Data analysis indicated that for both groups, 93% of the participants were seen for diabetic eye care at least once and 78% were getting an annual eye examination regularly. In the controlled and uncontrolled blood sugar groups, 26% and 32% of patients, respectively, had ever seen a nephrologist and 38% and 49%, respectively, had ever seen a cardiologist. In the controlled and uncontrolled blood sugar groups, 32% and 38% of patients, respectively, had visited a podiatric physician. For statistical analysis and comparison of results between the two groups, we applied the χ2 test and calculated 95% confidence intervals. There were some significant differences regarding the complications of diabetes mellitus and preventive care.
There is a need for greater engagement by podiatric physicians and health-care providers to promote regular visits for the diabetic population to podiatric medical clinics.
Multiple offloading modalities are currently used in the management of diabetic plantar foot ulcerations. A relatively new device, the Rocker Insole, was tested for its ability to relieve plantar forefoot pressures when inserted into a surgical boot as compared to a patient’s customary footwear and the surgical boot alone. The Rocker Insole significantly reduced forefoot pressures by 48% when worn inside the surgical boot. Mean peak pressures unexpectedly increased 12% when the surgical boot was worn alone. This preliminary investigation suggests that when worn in conjunction with a surgical boot, the Rocker Insole can effectively offload plantar forefoot pressures and may be useful in the management of plantar metatarsal ulcerations. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 92(1): 48-53, 2002)
This study evaluated the magnitude and location of activity of diabetic patients at high risk for foot amputation. Twenty subjects aged 64.6 ± 1.8 years with diabetes, neuropathy, deformity, or a history of lower-extremity ulceration or partial foot amputation were dispensed a continuous activity monitor and a log book to record time periods spent in and out of their homes for 1 week. The results indicate that patients took more steps per hour outside their home, but took more steps per day inside their homes. Although 85% of the patients wore their physician-approved shoes most or all of the time while they were outside their homes, only 15% continued to wear them at home. Focusing on protection of the foot during in-home ambulation may be an important factor on which to focus future multidisciplinary efforts to reduce the incidence of ulceration and amputation. The ability to continuously monitor the magnitude, duration, and time of activity ultimately may assist clinicians in dosing activity just as they dose drugs. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 91(9): 451-455, 2001)
There is increasing pressure from industry to use advanced wound care products and technologies. Many are very expensive but promise to reduce overall costs associated with wound care. Compelling anecdotal evidence is provided that inevitably shows wounds that failed all other treatments but responded positively to the subject product. Evidence-based medicine is the standard by which physician-scientists must make their clinical care decisions. In an attempt to provide policy makers with the most current evidence on advanced wound care products, the Department of Veteran Affairs conducted an Evidence-based Synthesis Program review of advanced wound care products. This paper suggests how to take this information and apply it to policy to drive evidence-based care to improve outcomes and fiduciary responsibility.
Retrospective and prospective studies have shown that elevated plantar pressure is a causative factor in the development of many plantar ulcers in diabetic patients and that ulceration is often a precursor of lower-extremity amputation. Herein, we review the evidence that relieving areas of elevated plantar pressure (off-loading) can prevent and heal plantar ulceration.
There is no consensus in the literature concerning the role of off-loading through footwear in the primary or secondary prevention of ulcers. This is likely due to the diversity of intervention and control conditions tested, the lack of information about off-loading efficacy of the footwear used, and the absence of a target pressure threshold for off-loading. Uncomplicated plantar ulcers should heal in 6 to 8 weeks with adequate off-loading. Total-contact casts and other nonremovable devices are most effective because they eliminate the problem of nonadherence to recommendations for using a removable device. Conventional or standard therapeutic footwear is not effective in ulcer healing. Recent US and European surveys show that there is a large discrepancy between guidelines and clinical practice in off-loading diabetic foot ulcers. Many clinics continue to use methods that are known to be ineffective or that have not been proved to be effective while ignoring methods that have demonstrated efficacy.
A variety of strategies are proposed to address this situation, notably the adoption and implementation of recently established international guidelines, which are evidence based and specific, by professional societies in the United States and Europe. Such an approach would improve the often poor current expectations for healing diabetic plantar ulcers. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 100(5): 360–368, 2010)
Studies have established a positive association between peripheral neuropathy and diabetes mellitus. The purpose of the present investigation is to determine the predictor variables for demographic characteristics of individuals with diabetes mellitus and peripheral neuropathy.
Frequency and χ2 statistic analyses were conducted on the data to determine significance of predictor variables.
Among individuals with and without diabetes mellitus, men are more at risk to develop complications related to peripheral neuropathy, such as foot insensate areas and numbness in extremities. Diabetic individuals older than 61 years are at higher risk than other age groups. Among diabetic patients with peripheral neuropathy, women are more likely to have emotional disorders such as panic, anxiety disorder, and depression than men of the same age or younger.
Predictor variables will assist clinicians in better diagnosing peripheral neuropathy, contributing to more effective treatments and shortening of healing time. Diagnostic measures to be taken into consideration include race, age, education, marital status, duration of diabetes mellitus, numbness in hands or feet, participation in moderate physical activity, and use of tobacco. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 103(5): 355–360, 2013)
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.
Pyoderma gangrenosum is a skin disease characterized by wounds with blue-to-purple undermined borders surrounding purulent necrotic bases. This article reports on a patient with a circumferential, full-thickness, and partially necrotic lower-extremity ulceration of unknown etiology. Results of laboratory tests and arterial and venous imaging studies were found to be within normal limits. The diagnosis of pyoderma gangrenosum was made on the basis of the histologic appearance of the wound tissue after biopsy as a diagnosis of exclusion. Negative pressure wound therapy was undertaken, which saved the patient’s leg from amputation. Although negative pressure wound therapy has demonstrated efficacy in the treatment of chronic wounds in a variety of circumstances, this is the first documented use of this technique to treat an ulceration secondary to pyoderma gangrenosum. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 95(2): 171–174, 2005)