The diagnosis of Sudeck's syndrome stage 1 (nowadays termed complex regional pain syndrome I, abbreviated CRPS I) is based on clinical features, namely swelling and pain in a limb. Plain X-ray may be normal. In the absence of pain sensitivity, e.g. in diabetic neuropathy, CRPS I of the foot can be mistaken for Charcot's foot stage 0 (so-called neuro-osteoarthropathy).
The case of a type-1 diabetic woman is reported, in whom CRPS I following a calcaneal fracture was mistaken for Charcot's osteoarthropathy (because of bone marrow edema displayed by conventional MR imaging). In addition, a review is presented on 6 consecutive cases with CRPS I of the foot, and on 20 cases with Charcot's foot stage 0, with particular emphasis on MR imaging findings. The number of bones per foot affected with marrow edema was similar in either condition, with a tendency towards a more patchy, diffuse distribution of bone marrow edema in CRPS I. Bone marrow edema apparently regressed more promptly in response to treatment in Charcot's foot stage 0.
Differentiation of CRPS I from Charcot's foot stage 0 remains a diagnostic dilemma in patients with pain insensitivity. Conventional MRI may be helpful, when repeated for monitoring the treatment response.
The etiology of diabetic Charcot neuroarthropathy involving the midfoot often includes an inciting traumatic event or repetitive micro-trauma from an uncompensated biomechanical imbalance that potentiates an incompletely understood pathway leading to a rocker-bottom foot deformity and ulceration. In the setting of a severe Charcot foot fracture and/or dislocation with obvious osseous instability, diagnostic delay can potentiate the limb-threatening sequelae of infected midfoot ulcerations in this patient population. In this article, the authors discuss the thought process as well as the advantages of performing an extended medial column arthrodesis for selected Charcot midfoot deformities.
diabetes mellitus; Charcot foot; midfoot arthrodesis; locking plate technology; external fixation
To measure prospectively bone mineral density (BMD) of the Charcot and non-Charcot foot in 36 diabetic patients presenting with acute Charcot osteoarthropathy.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
Calcaneal BMD was measured with quantitative ultrasound at presentation, at 3 months of casting, and at the time of the clinical resolution.
BMD of the Charcot foot was significantly reduced compared with BMD of the non-Charcot foot at presentation (P = 0.001), at 3 months of casting (P < 0.001), and at the time of clinical resolution (P < 0.001). Overall, from the time of presentation to the time of resolution there was a significant fall of BMD of the Charcot foot (P < 0.001) but not of the non-Charcot foot (P = 0.439).
Although the Charcot foot was treated with casting until clinical resolution, there was a significant fall of BMD only from presentation up until 3 months of casting.
Diabetic foot diseases, such as ulcerations, infections, and neuropathic (Charcot’s) arthropathy are major complications of diabetes mellitus and peripheral neuropathy and may cause osteolysis (bone loss) in foot bones. The purposes of our study were to make computed tomography (CT) measurements of foot-bone volumes and densities and to determine measurement precision (percent coefficients of variation for root mean square-standard deviations) and least significant changes in these percentages that could be considered biologically real with 95% confidence. Volumetric quantitative CT scans were performed and repeated on 10 young, healthy subjects and 13 subjects with diabetes mellitus and peripheral neuropathy. Two raters used the original- and repeat-scan data sets to make measurements of volumes and bone mineral densities (BMDs) of the tarsal and metatarsal bones of the two feet (24 bones). Precisions for the bones ranged from 0.1% to 0.9% for volume measurements and from 0.6% to 1.9% for BMD measurements. The least significant changes ranged from 0.4% to 2.5% for volume measurements and from 1.5% to 5.4% for BMD measurements. Volumetric quantitative CT provides precise measurements of volume and BMD for metatarsal bones and tarsal bones where diabetic foot diseases commonly occur.
Precision; Whole Bone Volume; Bone Mineral Density; Foot; Diabetes Mellitus; Peripheral Neuropathy
The management of diabetic neuropathic foot and ankle malunions and/or nonunions is often complicated by the presence of broken or loosened hardware, Charcot joints, infection, osteomyelitis, avascular bone necrosis, unstable deformities, bone loss, disuse and pathologic osteopenia, and ulcerations. The author discusses a rational approach to functional limb salvage with various surgical techniques that are aimed at achieving anatomic alignment, long-term osseous stability, and adequate soft tissue coverage. Emphasis is placed on techniques to overcome the inherent challenges that are encountered when surgically managing a diabetic nonunion and/or malunion. Particular attention is directed to the management of deep infection and Charcot neuroarthropathy in the majority of the cases presented.
charcot foot; external fixation; malunions; nonunions; diabetic foot
There is limited understanding of the foot-health of people with diabetes in Australian regional areas. The aim of this study was to document the foot-health of people with diabetes who attend publically funded podiatric services in a regional Australian population.
A three month prospective clinical audit was undertaken by the publically-funded podiatric services of a large regional area of Victoria, Australia. The primary variables of interest were the University of Texas (UT) diabetic foot risk classification of each patient and the incidence of new foot ulceration during the study period. Age, gender, diabetes type, duration of diabetes and the podiatric service the patients attended were the other variables of interest.
Five hundred and seventy six patients were seen during the three month period. Over 49% had a UT risk classification at a level at least peripheral neuropathy or more serious diabetes-related foot morbidity. Higher risk at baseline was associated with longer duration of diabetes (F = 31.7, p < 0.001), male gender (χ2 = 40.3, p <0.001) and type 1 diabetes (χ2 = 37.3, p <0.001). A prior history of foot pathology was the overwhelming predictor for incident ulceration during the time period (OR 8.1 (95% CI 3.6 to 18.2), p < 0.001).
The publically funded podiatric services of this large regional area of Australia deal with a disproportionally large number of people with diabetes at high risk of future diabetes-related foot complications. These findings may be useful in ensuring appropriate allocation of resources for future public health services involved in diabetic foot health service delivery in regional areas.
Podiatry; Diabetic Foot; Epidemiology; Rural Health
We describe two patients with diabetes mellitus and associated neuropathy, who presented with painless foot swelling and no history of trauma. X-Rays revealed recent underlying fractures-in one of a metatarsus, and the other of a proximal phalanx. These were assumed to be 'stress' fractures unassociated with pain because of the severe sensory neuropathy. Though spontaneous fractures in neuropathic feet have been previously described, they almost always occur in association with Charcot joints, and are usually painful. The differential diagnosis of acute swelling in the foot of a diabetic patient with sensory neuropathy should include stress fracture.
Athletic trainers must understand the clinical implications of diabetes on the athletic foot in order to promote proper foot care and footwear and to adapt protocols for treatment and exercise of the affected athlete.
The MEDLINE and CINAHL databases were searched for the years 1984 to 1996 with the terms “diabetes and foot,” “neuropathy,” and “Charcot joint.”
As more athletes with diabetes participate in sports, athletic trainers must develop the skills and knowledge necessary to manage this metabolic illness. Although the need to keep blood glucose levels carefully controlled is well known, the impact of diabetes on the foot is not as well recognized. Peripheral vascular disease, soft tissue neuropathy, and neuropathic arthropathy are the most common complications of diabetes affecting the foot. However, with proper management, these complications can be minimized, allowing diabetic athletes and nonathletes to lead more normal and functional lives.
The athletic trainer can assist the diabetic athlete by promoting proper foot care and footwear and adapting protocols for treatment and exercise.
peripheral vascular disease; neuropathy; neuropathic arthropathy
To compare risks of lower-extremity amputation between patients with Charcot arthropathy and those with diabetic foot ulcers.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
A retrospective cohort of patients with incident Charcot arthropathy or diabetic foot ulcers in 2003 was followed for 5 years for any major and minor amputations in the lower extremities.
After a mean follow-up of 37 ± 20 and 43 ± 18 months, the Charcot and ulcer groups had 4.1 and 4.7 amputations per 100 person-years, respectively. Among patients <65 years old at the end of follow-up, amputation risk relative to patients with Charcot alone was 7 times higher for patients with ulcer alone and 12 times higher for patients with Charcot and ulcer.
Charcot arthropathy by itself does not pose a serious amputation risk, but ulcer complication multiplicatively increases the risk. Early surgical intervention for Charcot patients in the absence of deformity or ulceration may not be advisable.
To identify the differences in a socioeconomic profile between two cohorts of diabetic patients – one with diabetic foot problems and another without diabetic foot problems.
Materials and methods
The cohort with diabetic foot problems (including cellulitis, abscess, osteomyelitis, septic arthritis, gangrene, ulcers, or Charcot joint disease) consisted of 122 diabetic patients, while the other cohort without foot problems consisted of 112 diabetic patients. Both were seen at the National University Hospital from January to April 2007. A detailed protocol was designed and the factors studied included patient profile, average monthly household income, education, compliance to diabetic medication, attendance at clinics for diabetic treatment, exercise, smoking, alcohol consumption, gender, and glycosylated haemoglobin (HbA1C) level. These were studied for significant differences using univariate and stepwise multivariate logistic regression analysis.
With multivariate analysis, Malay ethnicity (p<0.001), education of up to secondary school only (p=0.021), low average monthly household income of less than SGD $2,000 (p=0.030), lack of exercise (at least once a week, p=0.04), and elevated HbA1C level (>7.0%; p=0.015) were found to be significantly higher in the cohort with diabetic foot problems than the cohort without.
There are significant differences in the socioeconomic factors between diabetic patients with diabetic foot problems and those without.
diabetic foot; social conditions; patient compliance; income; HbA1c
Charcot's neuroarthropathy of ankle leads to instability, destruction of the joint with significant morbidity that may require an amputation. Aim of surgical treatment is to achieve painless stable plantigrade foot through arthrodesis. Achieving surgical arthrodesis in Charcot's neuroarthropathy has a high failure rate. This is a retrospective nonrandomized comparative study assessing the outcomes of tibio-talar arthrodesis for Charcot's neuroarthropathy treated by uniplanar external fixation assisted by external immobilization or retrograde intramedullary interlocked nailing.
Materials and Methods:
Records of the authors′ institution were reviewed to identify those patients who had undergone ankle fusion for diabetic neuroarthropathy from January 1998 to December 2008. A total of11 patients (six males and five females) with a mean age of 56 year and diabetes of a mean duration of 15.4 years with ankle tibio-talar arthrodesis using retrograde nailing or external fixator for Charcot's neuroarthropathy were enrolled for the analysis. Neuropathy was clinically diagnosed, documented and substantiated using the monofilament test. All procedures were performed in Eichenholz stage II/III.Six patients were treated with uniplanar external fixator, while the remaining five underwent retrograde intramedullary interlocking nail. The outcomes were measured for union radiologically, development of complications and clinical follow-up, according to digital archiving systems and old case notes.
All five (100%) patients treated by intramedullary nailing achieved radiological union on an average follow-up of 16 weeks. The external fixation group had significantly higher rate of complications with one amputation, four non unions (66.7%) and a delayed union which went on to full osseous union.
The retrograde intramedullary nailing for tibio-talar arthrodesis in Charcot's neuroarthropathy yielded significantly better outcomes as compared to the use of uniplanar external fixator.
Charcot's diabetic neuropathy; retrograde intramedullary nailing; tibio-talar arthrodesis; uniplanar external fixator
Charcot osteoarthropathy (COA) is a potentially limbthreatening condition that mainly affects diabetic patients with neuropathy. In everyday practice, it presents as a red, hot, swollen foot, usually painless, and is frequently triggered by trivial injury. Its etiology is traditionally attributed to impairment of either the autonomic nervous system, leading to increased blood flow and bone resorption, or of the peripheral nervous system, whereby loss of pain and protective sensation render the foot susceptible to repeated injury. More recently, excessive local inflammation is thought to play a decisive role. Diagnosis is based on clinical manifestation and imaging studies (plain X-rays, bone scan, Magnetic Resonance Imaging). The mainstay of management is immediate off-loading, while surgery is usually reserved for chronic cases with irreversible deformities and/or joint instability. The aim of this review is to provide an overview of COA in terms of pathogenesis, classification and clinical presentation, diagnosis and treatment, with an emphasis on the high suspicion required by clinicians for timely recognition to avoid further complications.
Charcot osteoarthropathy; Diabetes mellitus; Diabetic neuropathy; Diabetic foot
The Lisfranc injury is relatively uncommon yet remains popular in the literature due to its variable causative mechanisms and subtleties in radiographic features despite its potential for disabling long term outcomes if treatment is inadequate, inappropriate or delayed. These injuries are especially pertinent in diabetic patients, especially those with neuropathy, since they are more common, can lead to Charcot neuropathic joint, ulcers and have different causative mechanisms compared to the general population. We describe the case of a neuropathic diabetic patient who presented with a Lisfranc injury which precipitated the development of acute Charcot arthropathy in the right foot. The case serves to illustrate several salient points about the Lisfranc joint and related injuries in diabetic patients.
The Charcot knee - or neuropathic arthropathy - presents a considerable challenge to the orthopaedic surgeon. Caused by a combination of sensory, motor and autonomic neuropathy, it was originally described as an arthritic sequelae of neurosyphilis. In today's western orthopaedics it is more often caused by diabetes. A Charcot knee is often symptomatically painful and unstable. Traditional management has usually been conservative or arthrodesis, with limited success. Arthroplasty of a Charcot joint has commonly been avoided at all costs. However, in the right patient, using the right technique, arthroplasty can significantly improve the symptoms of a Charcot joint. This article explores the evidence surrounding the role of arthroplasty in the management of a Charcot knee. Arthroplasty is compared to other forms of treatment and specific patient demographics and surgical techniques are explored in an attempt to define the role of arthroplasty in the management of a Charcot knee.
Charcot joint; knee; arthroplasty; neuropathic arthropathy.
We present the case of a 33-year-old male who sustained a burst fracture D12 vertebrae with spinal cord injury (ASIA impairment scale A) and a right mid-diaphysial femoral shaft fracture around 1.5 years back. The patient reported 1.5 years later with a swelling over the right buttock. Arthrotomy revealed serous fluid and fragmented bone debris. The biopsy showed a normal bony architecture with no evidence of infection and malignant cells. Hence, a diagnosis of Charcot’s hip was made. Charcot’s neuroarthropathy of the feet is a well-recognized entity in the setting of insensate feet resulting from causes such as diabetes or spina bifida. Although Charcot’s disease of the hips has been described, it is uncommon in association with spinal cord injury, syphilis and even with the use of epidural injection. The present case highlights the fact that neuroarthropathy of the hip can occur in isolation in the setting of a spinal cord injury, and this can lead to considerable morbidity.
Charcot’s hip; neuroarthropathy; spinal cord injury
Objective. Asymmetric plantar temperature differences secondary to inflammation is a hallmark for the diagnosis and treatment response of Charcot foot syndrome. However, little attention has been given to temperature response to activity. We examined dynamic changes in plantar temperature (PT) as a function of graduated walking activity to quantify thermal responses during the first 200 steps.
Methods. Fifteen individuals with Acute Charcot neuroarthropathy (CN) and 17 non-CN participants with type 2 diabetes and peripheral neuropathy were recruited. All participants walked for two predefined paths of 50 and 150 steps. A thermal image was acquired at baseline after acclimatization and immediately after each walking trial. The PT response as a function of number of steps was examined using a validated wearable sensor technology. The hot spot temperature was identified by the 95th percentile of measured temperature at each anatomical region (hind/mid/forefoot). Results. During initial activity, the PT was reduced in all participants, but the temperature drop for the nonaffected foot was 1.9 times greater than the affected side in CN group (P = 0.04). Interestingly, the PT in CN was sharply increased after 50 steps for both feet, while no difference was observed in non-CN between 50 and 200 steps. Conclusions. The variability in thermal response to the graduated walking activity between Charcot and non-Charcot feet warrants future investigation to provide further insight into the correlation between thermal response and ulcer/Charcot development. This stress test may be helpful to differentiate CN and its response to treatment earlier in its course.
Charcot neuroarthropathy is a destructive and often-limb threatening process that can affect patients with peripheral neuropathy of any etiology. Early recognition and appropriate management is crucial to prevention of catastrophic outcomes. Delayed diagnosis and subsequent pedal collapse often preclude successful conservative management of these deformities and necessitate surgical intervention for limb salvage. We review the current literature on surgical reconstruction of Charcot neuroarthropathy and present a case report of foot reconstruction with combined internal and external fixation methods.
Imaging studies of bones in patients with sensory deficits are scarce.
To investigate bone MR images of the lower limb in diabetic patients with severe sensory polyneuropathy, and in control subjects without sensory deficits.
Routine T1 weighted and T2-fat-suppressed-STIR-sequences without contrast media were performed of the asymptomatic foot in 10 diabetic patients with polyneuropathy and unilateral inactive Charcot foot, and in 10 matched and 10 younger, non-obese unmatched control subjects. Simultaneously, a Gadolinium containing phantom was also assessed for reference. T1 weighted signal intensity (SI) was recorded at representative regions of interest at the peritendineal soft tissue, the tibia, the calcaneus, and at the phantom. Any abnormal skeletal morphology was also recorded.
Mean SI at the soft tissue, the calcaneus, and the tibia, respectively, was 105%, 105% and 84% of that at the phantom in the matched and unmatched control subjects, compared to 102% (soft tissue), 112% (calcaneus) and 64% (tibia) in the patients; differences of tibia vs. calcaneus or soft tissue were highly significant (p < 0.005). SI at the tibia was lower in the patients than in control subjects (p < 0.05). Occult traumatic skeletal lesions were found in 8 of the 10 asymptomatic diabetic feet (none in the control feet).
MR imaging did not reveal grossly abnormal bone marrow signalling in the limbs with severe sensory polyneuropathy, but occult sequelae of previous traumatic injuries.
The purpose of this study was to compare mortality risks of patients with Charcot arthropathy with those of patients with diabetic foot ulcer and those of patients with diabetes alone (no ulcer or Charcot arthropathy).
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
A retrospective cohort of 1,050 patients with incident Charcot arthropathy in 2003 in a large health care system was compared with patients with foot ulcer and those with diabetes alone. Mortality was determined during a 5-year follow-up period. Patients with Charcot arthropathy were matched to individuals in the other two groups using propensity score matching based on patient age, sex, race, marital status, diabetes duration, and diabetes control.
During follow-up, 28.0% of the sample died; 18.8% with diabetes alone and 37.0% with foot ulcer died compared with 28.3% with Charcot arthropathy. Multivariable Cox regression shows that, compared with Charcot arthropathy, foot ulcer was associated with 35% higher mortality risk (hazard ratio 1.35 [95% CI 1.18–1.54]) and diabetes alone with 23% lower risk (0.77 [0.66–0.90]). Of the patients with Charcot arthropathy, 63% experienced foot ulceration before or after the onset of the Charcot arthropathy. Stratified analyses suggest that Charcot arthropathy is associated with a significantly increased mortality risk independent of foot ulcer and other comorbidities.
Charcot arthropathy was significantly associated with higher mortality risk than diabetes alone and with lower risk than foot ulcer. Patients with foot ulcers tended to have a higher prevalence of peripheral vascular disease and macrovascular diseases than patients with Charcot arthropathy. This finding may explain the difference in mortality risks between the two groups.
The diabetic triad of neuropathy, vasculopathy, and foot deformity can be surgically challenging to the reconstructive surgeon. Soft tissue deficits must be closed to protect underlying structures from infection and to provide a stable environment for healing. It is critical to have adequate blood flow and to debride the wound to clean healthy tissue before considering reconstruction. Surgical options commonly used include healing by secondary intention, local flap closure, skin grafts, pedicled flaps, and free tissue transfer. Despite a surgeon's best operative efforts, these strategies may fail perioperatively due to postoperative shear forces created by premature joint motion and/or pressure (either weight bearing or decubitus). In the properly selected patient population, external fixators serve as an indispensable adjunct to wound healing in the Charcot foot by providing temporary but reliable offloading and/or immobilization of joints. Using a team approach is critical to the success of diabetic limb reconstruction.
Diabetes; reconstructive surgery; neuropathy; lower-extremity flaps
The volume of sweat produced by axon reflex stimulation using acetylcholine was measured in one foot each of 35 control subjects and 52 feet of 37 diabetic patients (28 with neuropathic ulceration, 11 with Charcot arthropathy, nine with somatic neuropathy but no foot lesion and four with no evidence of somatic neuropathy). In controls, the volume of sweat was greater in males than females. A flare response was seen in 94% of control feet. In diabetics, the volume of sweat was within the control range in 17 feet, increased in one, reduced in seven, and absent in 27. Sweating was absent in 75% of feet with a neuropathic ulcer; a flare response was absent in 86% of them. Sweating was only absent in 36% of feet with Charcot arthropathy and was increased in one, whereas the flare response was absent in all. Autonomic cardiovascular reflexes were more frequently abnormal than the sweat test; sweating was absent in only one patient with normal cardiovascular reflexes.
This prospective study was designed to evaluate the rate of surgical site infection (SSI) after foot and ankle surgery in patients with and without diabetes.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
The study prospectively evaluated 1,465 consecutive foot and ankle surgical cases performed by a single surgeon.
The overall SSI rate in this study was 3.5%, with significantly more infections occurring in individuals with diabetes than in those without (9.5 vs. 2.4%, P < 0.001). Peripheral neuropathy, Charcot neuroarthropathy, current or past smoking, and increasing length of surgery were significantly associated with SSI on multivariate analysis.
This study demonstrates significant associations between the development of SSI and chronic complications of diabetes. We confirm previous findings that it is peripheral neuropathy and not diabetes itself that most strongly determines the development of postoperative infections in these surgical patients.
This study investigated the relationship between circulating soluble receptor for advanced glycation end products (sRAGE) and parameters of bone health in patients with Charcot neuroarthropathy (CNA).
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
Eighty men (aged 55.3 ± 9.0 years), including 30 healthy control subjects, 30 type 2 diabetic patients without Charcot, and 20 type 2 diabetic patients with stage 2 (nonacute) CNA, underwent evaluations of peripheral and autonomic neuropathy, nerve conduction, markers of bone turnover, bone mineral density, and bone stiffness of the calcaneus.
CNA patients had worse peripheral and autonomic neuropathy and a lower bone stiffness index than diabetic or control individuals (77.1, 103.3, and 105.1, respectively; P < 0.05), but no difference in bone mineral density (P > 0.05). CNA subjects also had lower sRAGE levels than control (162 vs. 1,140 pg/mL; P < 0.01) and diabetic (162 vs. 522 pg/mL; P < 0.05) subjects, and higher circulating osteocalcin levels.
CNA patients had significantly lower circulating sRAGE, with an accompanying increase in serum markers of bone turnover, and reduced bone stiffness in the calcaneus not accompanied by reductions in bone mineral density. These data suggest a failure of RAGE defense mechanisms against oxidative stress in diabetes. Future studies should determine if medications that increase sRAGE activity could be useful in mitigating progression to CNA.
Technological advances have allowed reconstructive foot and ankle surgeons greater opportunity to provide significant limb salvage options to those patients who present with significant lower extremity deformity due to diabetic Charcot neuroarthropathy. Paradigms that promote the utilization of these advanced modalities have demonstrated significant improved limb salvage outcomes in this challenging patient population and have consequently improved the quality of life for patients. The purpose of this review is to discuss current concepts in Charcot reconstruction.
axial screw fixation; bone stimulation; bioadjuvants; Charcot neuropathy; Charcot restraint orthotic walker; total contact cast
The surgical management of ankle fractures among the diabetic population is associated with higher complication rates compared to the general population. Efforts toward development of better methods in prevention and treatment are continuously evolving for these injuries. The presence of peripheral neuropathy and the possible development of Charcot neuroarthropathy in this high risk patient population have stimulated much surgical interest to create more stable osseous constructs when open reduction of an ankle fracture/dislocation is required. The utilization of multiple syndesmotic screws (pro-syndesmotic screws) to further stabilize the ankle mortise has been reported by many foot and ankle surgeons. In addition, transarticular Steinmann pins have been described as an adjunct to traditional open reduction with internal fixation (ORIF) of the ankle to better stabilize the talus, thus minimizing risk of further displacement, malunion, and Charcot neuroarthropathy. The authors present a unique technique of ORIF with pro-syndesmotic screws and the application of a multi-plane circular external fixator for management of a neglected diabetic ankle fracture that prevented further deformity while allowing a weight-bearing status. This techniqu may be utilized for the management of complex diabetic ankle fractures that are prone to future complications and possible limb loss.
revisional foot and ankle surgery; diabetes; Charcot neuroarthropathy; trauma-external fixation; complications