Through a discussion of the etiology and pathology of diabetic foot lesions with particular emphasis on ulceration and osteoarthropathy, the author will develop a plan for treatment and prevention using a multidisciplinary approach to such problems. Underlying risk factors including neuropathy, ischemia, infection, and, especially high pressures must be evaluated and appropriately ameliorated in order to promote resolution and avoidance of recidivism. Accordingly, conservative management with pressure-relieving devices, topical therapies, and prophylactic surgery on structural deformities plays an integral part in the overall podiatric management of the high-risk foot in diabetes mellitus.
The number of partial-foot amputations performed is increasing, and many recommendations have been made regarding the use of prostheses and footwear designed to prevent higher-level amputations in this population. The present study investigated the use of prostheses and shoe inserts and the types of footwear worn by partial-foot amputees in the inner city to determine whether previous recommendations are being followed as well as whether new prosthetic styles are being used. The study surveyed 110 patients (73 men and 37 women) with a mean age of 58.6 years (range, 21 to 86 years) with partial-foot amputations of all levels. The results showed that about one-half of all patients wore a shoe-insert orthosis. Although 54% wore some form of special footwear to accommodate and protect the residual foot, no patient in this study wore a shoe with a rocker-bottom sole. Only one patient with a transmetatarsal amputation used a brace and only one patient in the entire study wore a modern cosmetic foot prosthesis. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 91(1): 34-49, 2001)
In this retrospective review, 19 diabetic patients with significant lower-extremity pathology were assessed to determine the success of limb salvage in cases of varying complexity. The patients were either scheduled or at risk for below-the-knee amputation before intervention. After the limb-salvage procedure, patients were followed for 4 months to 9 years. Eighteen patients went on to have successful procedures, avoiding below-the-knee amputation; one patient had an above-the-knee amputation. The results demonstrate the benefits of an aggressive team approach with limb salvage as a goal. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 92(8): 457-462, 2002)
Diabetic foot osteomyelitis is common and causes substantial morbidity, including major amputations, yet the optimal treatment approach is unclear. We evaluated an approach to limb salvage that combines early surgical debridement or limited amputation with antimicrobial therapy.
We conducted a retrospective cohort study of patients treated between May 1, 2005, and May 31, 2007. The primary end point was cure, defined as not requiring further treatment for osteomyelitis of the affected limb. The secondary end point was limb salvage, defined as not requiring a below-the-knee amputation or a more proximal amputation.
Fifty patients with diabetic foot osteomyelitis met the study criteria. Initial surgical management included local amputation in 43 patients (86%) and debridement without amputation in seven (14%). Most infections (n = 30; 60%) were polymicrobial, and Staphylococcus aureus was the most common pathogen (n = 23; 46%). Parenteral antibiotics were used in 45 patients (90%). Patients who had pathologic evidence of osteomyelitis at the surgical margin received therapy for a median of 43 days (interquartile range [IQR], 36–56 days), whereas those without evidence of residual osteomyelitis received therapy for a median of 19 days (IQR, 13–40 days). Overall, 32 patients (64%) were considered cured after a median follow-up of 26 months (IQR, 12–38 months). Fifteen of 18 patients (83%) who failed initial therapy were treated again with limb-sparing surgery. Limb salvage was achieved in 47 patients (94%), with only three patients (6%) requiring below-the-knee amputation.
In patients with diabetic foot osteomyelitis, surgical debridement or limited amputation plus antimicrobial therapy is effective at achieving clinical cure and limb salvage. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 102(4): 273–277, 2012)