Elevated plantar pressure and ulceration in diabetic patients after panmetatarsal head resection: Two case reports

Peter R. Cavanagh, Jan S. Ulbrecht, Gregory M. Caputo

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21 Scopus citations


Panmetatarsal head resection (variously called forefoot arthroplasty, forefoot resection arthroplasty, the Hoffman procedure, and the Fowler procedure) was developed for the relief of pain and deformity in rheumatoid arthritis. Although there are successful retrospective series reported in the literature, such an approach is not supported by carefully designed controlled trials. This procedure has also been advocated by some for the relief of plantar pressure in diabetic patients who are at risk for plantar ulceration. The efficacy of the procedure in this context is not supported by existing pressure measurements on rheumatoid arthritis patients in the literature, which has tended to show that although pain relief is obtained, the procedure results in elevation of forefoot pressure. Case reports are described of two patients (three feet) with sensory neuropathy who presented to our clinic 1 to 2 years after panmetatarsal head resections had been performed. Peak plantar pressures in these feet during first step gait were above the 99th percentile and outside the measuring range of the device used (EMED SF platform; NOVEL Electronics Inc., St. Paul, MN). Both patients had also experienced plantar ulcers subsequent to the surgery. Combining the information on patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) with that from our two case studies, we conclude that panmetatarsal head resection does not necessarily eliminate focal regions of elevated plantar pressure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)521-528
Number of pages8
JournalFoot and Ankle International
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1999

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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