Studies have been conducted to evaluate the efficacy of dehydrated human amnion chorion membrane (dHACM) in treating recalcitrant diabetic foot ulcers. A literature search was performed to review the data collected from the use of dHACM allografts. Two products were explicitly named in these publications, EpiFix and AmnioBand Membrane. Relevant results included the healing rate, number of wounds healed, and number of grafts used. Data had supported the potential of lowering the overall cost to manage a wound despite a relatively higher cost per dressing. However, discrepancy was observed in the rate of healing between several of the studies. Nonetheless, dHACM had demonstrated improvement in healing of recalcitrant diabetic foot ulcers compared to standard of care alone. These results provide grounds for more inclusive research on dHACM in the future.
Remote ischemic conditioning involves the use of a blood pressure cuff or similar device to induce brief (3–5 min) episodes of limb ischemia. This, in turn, seems to activate a group of distress signals that has shown the potential ability to improve healing of the heart muscle and other organ systems. Until recently, this has not been tested in people with diabetic foot ulcers. The purpose of this review was to provide background on remote ischemic conditioning and recent data to potentially support its use as an adjunct to healing diabetic foot ulcers and other types of tissue loss. We believe that this inexpensive therapy has the potential to be deployed and incorporated into a variety of other therapies to prime patients for healing and to reduce morbidity in patients with this common, complex, and costly complication.
Therapeutic Options for Diabetic Foot Infections
A Review with an Emphasis on Tissue Penetration Characteristics
Foot complications are common in diabetic patients; foot ulcers are among the more serious consequences. These ulcers frequently become infected, and if not treated promptly and appropriately, diabetic foot infections can lead to septic gangrene and amputation. Foot infections may be classified as mild, moderate, or severe; this largely determines the approach to therapy. Staphylococcus aureus is the most common pathogen in these infections, and the increasing incidence of methicillin-resistant S aureus during the past two decades has further complicated antibiotic treatment. Chronic infections are often polymicrobial. Physiologic changes, and local and systemic inflammation, can affect the plasma and tissue pharmacokinetics of antimicrobial agents in diabetic patients, leading to impaired target-site penetration. Knowledge of the serum and tissue concentrations of antibiotics in diabetic patients is, therefore, important for choosing the optimal drug and dose. This article reviews the commonly used therapeutic options for treatment, including many newer antibiotics developed to target multidrug-resistant gram-positive bacteria, and includes available data relating specifically to the tissue penetration of these agents. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 100(1): 52–63, 2010)
This literature review sought to evaluate the current state of knowledge and guidelines surrounding the role of pH in the recovery of chronic nonhealing wounds. A systematic review of PubMed examining the relationship between pH and wound healing was completed. Seven sources were retrieved for review. The development of a highly structured and reproducible system of pH-driven therapy may add to the treatment algorithm for chronic nonhealing wounds.
Ankle dorsiflexion measurement is important for clinical and research use. With so much evidence on the unreliability of goniometric measurements, a systematic review was performed to investigate various alternative techniques for measuring ankle dorsiflexion in the nonneurologic patient. All of the major databases were queried electronically to identify studies that used any method of ankle dorsiflexion measurement in the nonneurologic subject. Keywords included ankle dorsiflexion NOT cerebral palsy NOT stroke, the latter to exclude neurologic conditions. In 755 studies that used some form of ankle joint dorsiflexion measurement, ten different techniques were identified that included various apparatuses designed specifically for this purpose. Reliability testing of these techniques involved test-retest trials with small student populations as subjects, which returned high intraclass correlation coefficient scores. However, their methodological quality would have benefitted from the use of an actual patient population and comparison with a reference standard. When validating ankle dorsiflexion measurement techniques, actual patient populations should be used, otherwise papers would score poorly on methodological quality assessment. Standardizing patient position, foot posture, amount of moment applied, and reference landmarks will ensure that various trial results can be compared directly. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 101(1): 59–69, 2011)
Vitamin D is an essential vitamin that targets several tissues and organs and plays an important role in calcium homeostasis. Vitamin D deficiency is common, particularly at higher latitudes, where there is reduced exposure to ultraviolet B radiation. We reviewed the role of vitamin D and its deficiency in foot and ankle pathology.
The effects of vitamin D deficiency have been extensively studied, but only a small portion of the literature has focused on the foot and ankle. Most evidence regarding the foot and ankle consists of retrospective studies, which cannot determine whether vitamin D deficiency is, in fact, the cause of the pathologies being investigated.
The available evidence suggests that insufficient vitamin D levels may result in an increased incidence of foot and ankle fractures. The effects of vitamin D deficiency on fracture healing, bone marrow edema syndrome, osteochondral lesions of the talus, strength around the foot and ankle, tendon disorders, elective foot and ankle surgery, and other foot and ankle conditions are less clear.
Based on the available evidence, we cannot recommend routine testing or supplementation of vitamin D in patients with foot and ankle pathology. However, supplementation is cheap, safe, and may be of benefit in patients at high risk for deficiency. When vitamin D is supplemented, the evidence suggests that calcium should be co-supplemented. Further high-quality research is needed into the effect of vitamin D in the foot and ankle. Cost-benefit analyses of routine testing and supplementation of vitamin D for foot and ankle pathology are also required.
The Lower-Extremity Physician's Prescription for Effectively Treating Infection
The discovery of antibiotic drugs was one of the most significant medical achievements of the 20th century. The improper use of antibiotic drugs to prevent and treat infections has resulted in the emergence of resistance. Antimicrobic stewardship programs are becoming a mainstay in the fight against multidrug-resistant organisms. Individual clinicians should be encouraged to adopt the principles of antibiotic stewardship when treating lower-extremity infections in their scope of practice. First, a review of the available literature outlining the concept and practice of antibiotic stewardship is offered. Second, a discussion describing how to adopt and apply these principles to the individual clinician's practice as it applies to lower-extremity infections is offered. Finally, specific antimicrobial pharmacologic spectra and antibiogram information are offered.
Plantar keratodermas can arise due to a variety of genetically inherited mutations. The need to distinguish between different plantar keratoderma disorders is becoming increasingly apparent because there is evidence that they do not respond identically to treatment. Diagnosis can be aided by observation of other clinical manifestations, such as palmar keratoderma, more widespread hyperkeratosis of the epidermis, hair and nail dystrophies, or erythroderma. However, there are frequent cases of plantar keratoderma that occur in isolation. This review focuses on the rare autosomal dominant keratin disorder pachyonychia congenita, which presents with particularly painful plantar keratoderma for which there is no specific treatment. Typically, patients regularly trim/pare/file/grind their calluses and file/grind/clip their nails. Topical agents, including keratolytics (eg, salicylic acid, urea) and moisturizers, can provide limited benefit by softening the skin. For some patients, retinoids help to thin calluses but may lead to increased pain. This finding has stimulated a drive for alternative treatment options, from gene therapy to alternative nongenetic methods that focus on novel findings regarding the pathogenesis of pachyonychia congenita and the function of the underlying genes.
Onychomycosis is a chronic fungal infection of the nail that is recalcitrant to treatment. It is unclear why normally effective antifungal therapy results in low cure rates. Evidence suggests that there may be a plethora of reasons that include the limited immune presence in the nail, reduced circulation, presence of commensal microbes, and fungal influence on immune signaling. Therefore, treatment should be designed to address these possibilities and work synergistically with both the innate and adaptive immune responses.
Clinical podiatric medical practice encompasses a wide spectrum of podiatric medical and surgical problems. Technological advances such as imaging have greatly improved diagnostic acumen; however, physical diagnosis and blood testing remain extremely important factors in reinforcing diagnostic hypotheses as a part of differential diagnosis. There are certain blood tests of importance that the podiatric medical practitioner should be familiar with in everyday medical and surgical practice. The purpose of this article is to identify and highlight which blood tests are truly essential and practical in terms of diagnosis. This article encompasses blood tests pertinent to the clinical areas of hematology, hemostasis, electrolytes, endocrine, cardiac, rheumatology, nephrology, and gastroenterology. Careful selection of these tests and proper interpretation of their results will help reinforce diagnostic hypotheses.