Selective neuropathy and preserved vascular responses in the diabetic Charcot foot

Diabetologia. 1992 Feb;35(2):148-54. doi: 10.1007/BF00402547.


Charcot arthropathy is a disabling complication of diabetic neuropathy. It is however, unclear why it occurs in only a small number of neuropathic patients. We have studied 12 diabetic patients (10 insulin-dependent) with an acute Charcot arthropathy, and compared their neuropathy and vascular responsiveness with 12 diabetic patients (10 insulin-dependent) with recurrent neuropathic foot ulceration, 12 diabetic control subjects (9 insulin-dependent) and 10 normal non-diabetic subjects. The Charcot arthropathy patients demonstrated a preservation of warm perception, 6 (5.5) degrees C, but complete loss of peripheral cold perception, 10 (0) degrees C, p less than 0.001 (median (interquartile range)). This contrasted with the ulcerated neuropathy patients, who had equally severe impairement of both warm and cold sensory thresholds, 10(0.5) degrees C vs 10(1) degrees C, respectively, the diabetic control subjects who were able to detect a 2 (1.3) degrees C warm stimulus and 3 (3.5) degrees C cold stimulus and the normal subjects, whose warm threshold was 2 (1) degrees C and cold was 2 (1) degrees C. Light touch perception at the foot was preserved in the Charcot patients 4 (4) g vs 100 (50) g, p less than 0.0002, in the ulcerated neuropathy patients. Vibration perception at the great toe and cardiovascular autonomic function tests (heart rate variability, Valsalva ratio and postural systolic blood pressure fall) were abnormal in both the Charcot patients and ulcerated neuropathy group, with no differences seen between the two groups.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arthropathy, Neurogenic / etiology
  • Arthropathy, Neurogenic / physiopathology*
  • Blood Pressure*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / physiopathology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / physiopathology*
  • Diabetic Angiopathies / physiopathology*
  • Diabetic Neuropathies / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Foot Ulcer / etiology
  • Foot Ulcer / physiopathology*
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A / analysis
  • Heart Rate*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Posture
  • Reference Values
  • Valsalva Maneuver


  • Glycated Hemoglobin A