Fractures associated with neuropathic arthropathy in adults who have juvenile-onset diabetes

J Bone Joint Surg Am. 1988 Sep;70(8):1192-200.


Eighteen patients, twenty-five to fifty-two years old, who had juvenile-onset diabetes, had neuropathic arthropathy and fractures at the ankle or tarsus, most of which were bilateral. After a minimum follow-up of one year, four patients could not walk and fourteen were dependent on orthoses. In nine patients, the lesions produced fixed skeletal deformities that caused severe malum perforans, which in three patients was so severe that a below-the-knee amputation had to be done. In patients who had bilateral lesions, when the extremity that was initially involved was prevented from bearing weight, involvement of the contralateral limb became evident after an average of 4.5 months, compared with an average of twelve months in the patients who were allowed weight-bearing on the extremity that was initially involved. Our current treatment protocol is non-weight-bearing immobilization of the involved extremity, and we recommend prophylactic immobilization of the contralateral extremity with a protective cast or orthosis. All of the patients who had this treatment regimen could walk; in contrast, of the eleven patients who were not so treated, four could not walk.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Amputation
  • Ankle Injuries*
  • Ankle Joint / pathology
  • Arthropathy, Neurogenic / complications*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / complications*
  • Diabetic Neuropathies / complications*
  • Female
  • Foot Deformities, Acquired / etiology
  • Foot Diseases / etiology
  • Fractures, Closed / etiology*
  • Fractures, Closed / pathology
  • Fractures, Closed / therapy
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Skin Ulcer / etiology