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Differences in the Sub-Metatarsal Fat Pad Atrophy Symptoms between Patients with Metatarsal Head Resection and Those without Metatarsal Head Resection: A Cross-Sectional Study

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2020-03-14
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We aimed to evaluate the differences in the sub-metatarsal skin and fat pad atrophy between patients at a high risk of ulceration with and without previous metatarsal head resection. A cross-sectional study was performed in a diabetic foot unit involving 19 participants with a history of metatarsal head resection (experimental group) and 19 (control group) without a history of metatarsal head resection but with an ulcer in other locations in the metatarsal head. No participants had active ulcerations at study inclusion. Sub-metatarsal skin thickness and fat pad thickness in the first and second metatarsals were evaluated by an ultrasound transducer. The experimental group showed sub-metatarsal fat pad atrophy (3.74 ± 1.18 mm and 2.52 ± 1.04 mm for first and second metatarsal, respectively) compared with the control group (5.44 ± 1.12 mm and 4.73 ± 1.59 mm) (p < 0.001, confidence interval: (CI): 0.943–2.457 and p < 0.001, CI: 1.143–3.270 for first and second metatarsal, respectively); however, sub-metatarsal skin thickness was not different between groups (experimental 2.47 ± 0.47 mm vs. control 2.80 ± 0.58 mm (p = 0.063, CI: −0.019–0.672) and 2.24 ± 0.60 mm vs. 2.62 ± 0.50 mm (p = 0.066, CI: −0.027–0.786) for first and second metatarsal, respectively). Patients with previous metatarsal head resection showed sub-metatarsal fat pad atrophy, which could be associated with the risk of reulceration in the metatarsal head.
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