Throughout our medical training, we are taught how to manage patients who present with symptoms: perform a clinical examination, make a diagnosis, and develop a management plan. However, virtually no time is spent on teaching us how to manage patients who have no symptoms because they have lost the ability to feel pain, that is, patients with peripheral neuropathy. The lifetime incidence of foot ulceration in people with diabetes has been estimated to be as high as 25%, and a variety of contributory factors result in a foot being at risk for ulceration. Most important among these factors is peripheral neuropathy, or the loss of the ability to feel pain, temperature, or pressure sensation in the feet and lower legs. Up to 50% of older type 2 diabetic patients have evidence of sensory loss, putting them at risk for foot ulceration. If we are to succeed in reducing the high incidence of foot ulcers, regular screening for peripheral neuropathy is vital in all patients with diabetes. Those found to have any risk factors for foot ulceration require special education and more frequent review, particularly by podiatric physicians. The key message is, therefore, that neuropathic symptoms correlate poorly with sensory loss and that their absence must never be equated with lack of risk of foot ulceration. If we are to succeed in reducing the high incidence of foot ulceration and particularly recurrent ulceration, we must realize that with loss of pain there is also diminished motivation in the healing and prevention of injury. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 100(5): 349–352, 2010)
The authors undertook a study to evaluate the prevalence of ankle equinus and its potential relationship to high plantar pressure in a large, urban population with diabetes mellitus. The first 1,666 consecutive people with diabetes (50.3% male; mean [±SD] age, 69.1 ± 11.1 years) presenting to a large, urban, managed-care outpatient clinic were enrolled in this longitudinal, 2-year outcomes study. Patients received a standardized medical and musculoskeletal assessment at the time of enrollment, including evaluation at an onsite gait laboratory. Equinus was defined as less than 0° of dorsiflexion at the ankle. The overall prevalence of equinus in this population was 10.3%. Patients with equinus had significantly higher peak plantar pressures than those without the deformity and were at nearly three times greater risk for presenting with elevated plantar pressures. There were no significant differences in age, weight, or sex between the two groups. However, patients with equinus had a significantly longer duration of diabetes than those without equinus. Having a high index of suspicion for this deformity and subsequently addressing it through conservative or surgical means may help to reduce the risk of foot ulceration and amputation. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 92(9): 479-482, 2002)
Charcot’s arthropathy is a devastating condition affecting diabetic patients with peripheral neuropathy, resulting in a foot at risk for ulceration and amputation. Early diagnosis is important for the institution of appropriate treatment, which may help prevent disease progression and foot deformity. This article discusses the pathogenesis and treatment options available for the disorder. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 92(7): 381-383, 2002)
Background: Off-loading excessive pressure is essential to healing diabetic foot ulcers. However, many patients are not compliant in using prescribed footwear or off-loading devices. We sought to validate a method of objectively measuring off-loading compliance via activity monitors.
Methods: For 4 days, a single subject maintained a written compliance diary concerning use of a removable cast walker. He also wore a hip-mounted activity monitor during all waking hours. An additional activity monitor remained mounted on the cast walker at all times. At the conclusion of the 4 days, the time-stamped hip activity data were independently coded for walker compliance by the compliance diary and by using the time-stamped walker activity data.
Results: An intraclass reliability of 0.93 was found between diary-coded and walker monitor–coded activity.
Conclusions: These results support the use of this dual activity monitor approach for assessing off-loading compliance. An advantage of this approach versus a patient-maintained diary is that the monitors are not susceptible to incorrect patient recall or a patient’s desire to please a caregiver by reporting inflated compliance. Furthermore, these results seem to lend support to existing reports in the literature using similar methods. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 99(2): 100–103, 2009)
The aim of this study was to evaluate whether high plantar foot pressures can be predicted from measurements of plantar soft-tissue thickness in the forefoot of diabetic patients with neuropathy. A total of 157 diabetic patients with neuropathy and at least one palpable foot pulse but without a history of foot ulceration were invited to participate in the study. Plantar tissue thickness was measured bilaterally at each metatarsal head, with patients standing on the same standardized platform. Plantar pressures were measured during barefoot walking using the optical pedobarograph. Receiver operating characteristic analysis was used to determine the plantar tissue thickness predictive of elevated peak plantar pressure. Tissue thickness cutoff values of 11.05, 7.85, 6.65, 6.55, and 5.05 mm for metatarsal heads 1 through 5, respectively, predict plantar pressure at each respective site greater than 700 kPa, with sensitivity between 73% and 97% and specificity between 52% and 84%. When tissue thickness was used to predict pressure greater than 1,000 kPa, similar results were observed, indicating that high pressure at different levels could be predicted from similar tissue thickness cutoff values. The results of the study indicate that high plantar pressure can be predicted from plantar tissue thickness with high sensitivity and specificity. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 94(1): 39-42, 2004)
This prospective longitudinal study assessed whether baseline mean skin temperature measurements are useful in predicting the most common foot-related complications of diabetes mellitus. We evaluated the mean of baseline skin temperatures taken bilaterally from six plantar sites in 1,588 patients with diabetes. There was no difference in skin temperature based on neuropathy, foot laterality, or foot risk category or between people with and without foot deformity and elevated plantar foot pressure. Whereas people with Charcot’s arthropathy had slightly but significantly higher mean temperatures (84.8° ± 3.5° F versus 82.5° ± 4.7° F), this was not true for those who developed ulcers or infections or who underwent amputations. The presence of vascular disease was not associated with lower skin temperatures. Mexican Americans (83.0° ± 4.6° F) and blacks (83.6° ± 4.5° F) had higher mean skin temperatures at baseline than did non-Hispanic whites (81.8° ± 4.6° F). Baseline measurement of nonfocal mean skin temperatures is not an effective means of screening people for future events. Regular assessment of skin temperatures, using the contralateral site as a physiologic control, may be a better use of this technology. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 93(6): 443-447, 2003)
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)
Background: The removal of necrotic tissue from chronic wounds is required for wound healing to occur. Hydrodebridement (jet lavage) and superoxidized aqueous solution have been independently used for debriding wounds. We sought to investigate the use of superoxidized aqueous solution with a jet lavage system.
Methods: Twenty patients with diabetic foot ulcers were randomly assigned in a 1:1 ratio to receive jet lavage debridement with either superoxidized aqueous solution or standard saline weekly.
Results: There was no significant difference between the two treatments in the reduction of bacterial load or wound size in 4 weeks. No adverse reactions were reported for either treatment.
Conclusions: The use of superoxidized aqueous solution for jet lavage debridement seemed to be as safe and effective as saline. Future investigations should concentrate on whether superoxidized aqueous solution may reduce the bacterial air contamination associated with hydrodebridement. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 101(2): 124–126, 2011)
We sought to assess, in a case-control model, the potential efficacy of maggot debridement therapy in 60 nonambulatory patients (mean ± SD age, 72.2 ± 6.8 years) with neuroischemic diabetic foot wounds (University of Texas grade C or D wounds below the malleoli) and peripheral vascular disease. Twenty-seven of these patients (45%) healed during 6 months of review. There was no significant difference in the proportion of patients healing in the maggot debridement therapy versus control group (57% versus 33%). Of patients who healed, time to healing was significantly shorter in the maggot therapy than in the control group (18.5 ± 4.8 versus 22.4 ± 4.4 weeks). Approximately one in five patients (22%) underwent a high-level (above-the-foot) amputation. Patients in the control group were three times as likely to undergo amputation (33% versus 10%). Although there was no significant difference in infection prevalence in patients undergoing maggot therapy versus controls (80% versus 60%), there were significantly more antibiotic-free days during follow-up in patients who received maggot therapy (126.8 ± 30.3 versus 81.9 ± 42.1 days). Maggot debridement therapy reduces short-term morbidity in nonambulatory patients with diabetic foot wounds. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 95(3): 254–257, 2005)