Objective: To determine if improved foot sensitivity to the Semmes-Weinstein 10-g (5.07) monofilament, originally impaired because of diabetic peripheral neuropathy, might be associated with a reduced incidence of new diabetic foot wounds.
Design: Retrospective cohort study using a health status questionnaire.
Subjects: Sixty-eight individuals over age 64 with diabetes, diabetic peripheral neuropathy, and loss of protective sensation who had clinically demonstrable increases in foot sensation to the Semmes-Weinstein monofilament after treatment with monochromatic near infrared photo energy.
Main results: After reversal of diabetic peripheral neuropathy following treatment with monochromatic near infrared photo energy, only 1 of 68 patients developed a new diabetic foot wound, for an incidence of 1.5%. Comparatively, the incidence previously reported in the Medicare-aged population with diabetes was 7.3%.
Conclusions: Improved foot sensitivity to the Semmes-Weinstein monofilament in patients previously suffering from loss of protective sensation due to diabetic neuropathy appears to be associated with a lower incidence of new diabetic foot ulcers when compared with the expected incidence in the Medicare-aged population with diabetes.
Clinical relevance: Therapeutic interventions that effectively improve foot sensitivity that has been previously diminished due to diabetic peripheral neuropathy may substantially reduce the incidence of new foot wounds in the Medicare-aged population with diabetes.