Comparison of Diabetic Charcot Patients with and Without Foot Wounds

Dane K. Wukich, David Sadoskas, Nicholas J. Vaudreuil, Mitchell Fourman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Background: The primary aim of this study was to evaluate the outcomes of a series of patients with Charcot neuroarthropathy (CN) who were evaluated in a tertiary care setting. We hypothesized that those patients with CN who presented with a Charcot-related foot wound would have lower rates of successful limb salvage than patients who presented without a wound. Methods: Two hundred forty-five patients (280 feet) were identified with diabetic CN during the time period from January 1, 2005, to June 1, 2015. This consecutive cohort of patients was treated by a single surgeon and had a mean age of 57.9 ± 10.0 years. Our CN patients were divided into 2 groups for the purpose of our analysis. Our study group included those patients who presented to our clinic with a Charcot-related foot wound. Our control group was composed of CN patients who presented without a Charcot-related foot wound. Results: Overall, 78 feet (27.9%) were successfully treated nonoperatively and 202 feet (72.1%) required some type of surgery. Of the 202 feet that received surgery, 22 (10.9%) were not felt to be suitable for reconstruction and underwent a definitive transtibial amputation without an attempt at reconstruction. An additional 18 patients underwent soft tissue surgery, which included drainage of infection, posterior muscle group lengthening, or soft tissue reconstructive flap surgery. The remaining 162 feet underwent osseous surgery, which included ostectomies for osteomyelitis, exostectomies, osteotomies, and arthrodesis. Eighteen of the 180 limbs (10.0%) that underwent soft tissue or osseous reconstruction ultimately required a transtibial amputation, resulting in a successful limb salvage rate of 90.0%. Thirty-five amputations were performed in 164 feet (21.3%) with Charcot-related foot wounds compared with 5 amputations in 116 feet (4.5%) without Charcot-related foot wounds (OR 6.02, 95% CI 2.28-15.91, P <.0001). Conclusion: The presence of a Charcot-related foot wound at presentation increased the likelihood of a major lower extremity amputation by a factor of 6. Other risk factors that were associated with major amputation in patients included active infection at presentation, nonunion/instability after reconstruction, and a postoperative wound problem. The overall rate of successful limb salvage in patients deemed reconstructive candidates was 90%. Level of Clinical Evidence: Level III, retrospective, case-control study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)140-148
Number of pages9
JournalFoot and Ankle International
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • amputation
  • Charcot
  • deformity
  • infection
  • reconstruction
  • salvage
  • ulcer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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