Patients with chronic diabetes have a broad spectrum of associated peripheral neurologic deficits that culminate in an increased susceptibility to ulcer formation. The authors focus on the use of the ankle-foot orthosis as both a treatment and a definitive solution for achieving ulcer closure and for minimizing the chance of ulcer recurrence in the ambulatory patient. An analysis of the pathologic forces encountered, and the solution achieved with the ankle-foot orthosis is presented. In addition, the results from a clinical pilot study in subjects with recalcitrant ulcers secondary to Charcot's neuroarthropathy are presented.
A review of 64 midfoot amputations performed between 1980 and 1985 revealed that complications occurred in 42% of the series. These included early wound dehiscence and late re-ulceration after the patient began walking again. By providing aggressive management and appropriate local revisions, 84% of the original group's limbs were salvaged at a functionally significant level. These findings underscore the fact that midfoot amputation requires diligent immediate and long-term follow-up if an acceptable success rate is to be achieved.