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.
Although numerous studies suggest the benefit of electrical stimulation (E-Stim) therapy to accelerate wound healing, the underlying mechanism of action is still debated. In this pilot study, we examined the potential effectiveness of lower-extremity E-Stim therapy to improve tissue perfusion in patients with diabetic foot ulcers.
Thirty-eight patients with diabetic foot ulcers underwent 60 min of active E-Stim therapy on acupuncture points above the level of the ankle joint using a bioelectric stimulation technology platform. Perfusion changes in response to E-Stim were assessed by measuring skin perfusion pressure (SPP) at baseline and during 30 and 60 min of therapy; retention was assessed 10 min after therapy. Tissue oxygen saturation (SatO2) was measured using a noninvasive near-infrared camera.
Skin perfusion pressure increased in response to E-Stim therapy (P = .02), with maximum improvement observed at 60 min (11%; P = .007) compared with baseline; SPP reduced 10 min after therapy but remained higher than baseline (9%; P = .1). Magnitude of improvement at 60 min was negatively correlated with baseline SPP values (r = –0.45; P = .01), suggesting that those with lower perfusion could benefit more from E-Stim therapy. Similar trends were observed for SatO2, with statistically significant improvement for a subsample (n = 16) with moderate-to-severe peripheral artery disease.
This study provides early results on the feasibility and effectiveness of E-Stim therapy to improve skin perfusion and SatO2. The magnitude of benefit is higher in those with poorer skin perfusion. Also, the effects of E-Stim could be washed out after stopping therapy, and regular daily application might be required for effective benefit in wound healing.
The diabetic Charcot foot syndrome is a serious and potentially limb-threatening lower-extremity complication of diabetes. First described in 1883, this enigmatic condition continues to challenge even the most experienced practitioners. Now considered an inflammatory syndrome, the diabetic Charcot foot is characterized by varying degrees of bone and joint disorganization secondary to underlying neuropathy, trauma, and perturbations of bone metabolism. An international task force of experts was convened by the American Diabetes Association and the American Podiatric Medical Association in January 2011 to summarize available evidence on the pathophysiology, natural history, presentations, and treatment recommendations for this entity. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 101(5): 437–446, 2011)
Podiatric physicians are frequently the first clinicians with the opportunity to diagnose a rheumatologic disease. Awareness of the multisystem nature of the more common rheumatologic conditions will assist podiatrists in making the appropriate diagnosis. The specific joints affected, the temporal pattern of joint involvement, and the distribution of affected joints give clues to the diagnosis. Knowledge of the current treatment for rheumatic diseases as well as early referral for evaluation by a medical physician is essential for the appropriate care of patients with systemic arthritis. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 94(2): 177-186, 2004)
Wound repair and regeneration is a highly complex combination of matrix destruction and reorganization. Although major hurdles remain, advances during the past generation have improved the clinician’s armamentarium in the medical and surgical management of this problem. The purpose of this article is to review the current literature regarding the pragmatic use of three of the most commonly used advanced therapies: bioengineered tissue, negative-pressure wound therapy, and hyperbaric oxygen therapy, with a focus on the near-term future of wound healing, including stem cell therapy. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 100(5): 385–394, 2010)
Although many antimicrobial agents display good in vitro activity against the pathogens frequently implicated in diabetic foot infections, effective treatment can be complicated by reduced tissue penetration in this population secondary to peripheral arterial disease and emerging antimicrobial resistance, which can result in clinical failure. Improved characterization of antibiotic tissue pharmacokinetics and penetration ratios in diabetic foot infections is needed. Microdialysis offers advantages over the skin blister and tissue homogenate studies historically used to define antibiotic penetration in skin and soft-tissue infections by defining antibiotic penetration into the interstitial fluid over the entire concentration versus time profile. However, only a select number of agents currently recommended for treating diabetic foot infections have been evaluated using these methods, which are described herein. Better characterization of the tissue penetration of antibiotic agents is needed for the development of methods for maximizing the pharmacodynamic profile of these agents to ultimately improve treatment outcomes for patients with diabetic foot infections.
This historical perspective highlights some of the pioneers, milestones, teams, and system changes that have had a major impact on management of the diabetic foot during the past 100 years. In 1934, American diabetologist Elliott P. Joslin noted that mortality from diabetic coma had fallen from 60% to 5% after the introduction of insulin, yet deaths from diabetic gangrene of the lower extremity had risen significantly. He believed that diabetic gangrene was preventable. His remedy was a team approach that included foot care, diet, exercise, prompt treatment of foot infections, and specialized surgical care.
The history of the team approach to management of the diabetic foot chronicles the rise of a new health profession—podiatric medicine and surgery—and emergence of the specialty of vascular surgery. The partnership among the diabetologist, vascular surgeon, and podiatric surgeon is a natural one. The complementary skills and knowledge of each can improve limb salvage and functional outcomes. Comprehensive multidisciplinary foot-care programs have been shown to increase quality of care and reduce amputation rates by 36% to 86%. Development of distal revascularization techniques to restore pulsatile blood flow to the foot has also been a major advancement.
Patients with diabetic foot complications are among the most complex and vulnerable of all patient populations. Specialized diabetic foot clinics of the 21st century should be multidisciplinary and equipped to coordinate diagnosis, off-loading, and preventive care; to perform revascularization procedures; to aggressively treat infections; and to manage medical comorbidities. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 100(5): 317–334, 2010)