To assess temporal changes in foot ulceration and its risk factors in community-based people with type 2 diabetes.
Baseline data from the longitudinal observational Fremantle Diabetes Study collected from 1993 to 1996 (Phase I) and 2008 to 2011 (Phase II) were analyzed. Generalized linear modeling was used to examine changes in foot ulcer prevalence and its associates between phases. Multiple logistic regression was used to determine associates of prevalent foot ulceration in individual and pooled phases.
There were 16 foot ulcers among 1296 patients in Phase I (1.2%) and 23 in 1509 Phase II patients (1.5%; P = 0.86 after age, sex and race/ethnicity adjustment). Glycemic and non-glycemic cardiovascular risk factors were better in Phase II, but diabetes duration was longer, peripheral sensory neuropathy (PSN) was more prevalent and more patients were Aboriginal (P <0.001) than in Phase I. In multivariable analysis of both phases and pooled data, diabetes duration and peripheral sensory neuropathy (PSN) were independent associates of foot ulceration (P ≤ 0.026). Prior hospitalization for ulcer, intermittent claudication, any absent pedal pulse and Aboriginality were also significant in the pooled model (P ≤ 0.009).
Strong associations between foot ulcer and diabetes duration, PSN, symptomatic and clinically-detectable peripheral vascular disease were observed. Aboriginality also proved an independent risk factor. Since all these risk factors apart from intermittent claudication and impalpable foot pulses were more prevalent in Phase II, improved community- and hospital-based foot care between phases are likely to have attenuated the risk of foot ulcers in Phase II patients.