Screening and identifying diabetic patients at risk of foot ulceration: use of the Semes�??Weinstein monofilament
Author(s): R T Ikem and I C Ikem

The diabetic foot can present with many different problems and the most important clinically are ulceration, amputation, and Charcot neuropathy. The majority of lower limb amputations in patients with diabetes are preceded by foot ulceration. Neuropathy results in loss of protective sensation and the use of 5.07/10 g Semmes–Weinstein monofilament is a simple device that detects patients with insensate feet. Clinical and demographic parameters of all consenting consecutive type 2 diabetes patients were documented. A history of the presence of peripheral neuropathy and sensory modalities of light touch, vibration sense, and joint position were assessed and the 5.07/10 g Semmes-Weinstein monofilament was used to detect patients with insensate feet. A total of 117 patients were examined (mean age 58 years, diabetes duration 6 years: there were 51% males and 49% females, and mean fasting plasma glucose was 8.1±2.9 mmol/L. Ninety-three (79%) presented with a history of peripheral neuropathy and 96% had one or more impaired sensory modality. The use of the monofilament showed impairment in 49%. Twenty-seven (23%) of these had severe peripheral neuropathy. The most frequent site of loss of sensation was the heel (31%). We concluded that the prevalence of peripheral neuropathy in our patients is high. Most patients walked sometimes barefoot, which may account for a high occurrence of foot ulceration. The Semmes-Weinstein monofilament should be routinely used in diabetes clinics.


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