Charcot neuroarthropathy is a complication of peripheral neuropathy associated with diabetes which most frequently affects the lower limb. It can cause fractures and dislocations within the foot, which may progress to deformity and ulceration. Recommended treatment is immobilisation and offloading, with a below knee non-removable cast or boot. Duration of treatment varies from six months to more than one year. Small observational studies suggest that repeated assessment with Magnetic Resonance Imaging improves decision making about when to stop treatment, but this has not been tested in clinical trials. This study aims to explore the feasibility of using serial Magnetic Resonance Imaging without contrast in the monitoring of Charcot neuroarthropathy to reduce duration of immobilisation of the foot. A nested qualitative study aims to explore participants’ lived experience of Charcot neuroarthropathy and of taking part in the feasibility study.
We will undertake a two arm, open study, and randomise 60 people with a suspected or confirmed diagnosis of Charcot neuroarthropathy from five NHS, secondary care multidisciplinary Diabetic Foot Clinics across England. Participants will be randomised 1:1 to receive Magnetic Resonance Imaging at baseline and remission up to 12 months, with repeated foot temperature measurements and x-rays (standard care plus), or standard care plus with additional three-monthly Magnetic Resonance Imaging until remission up to 12 months (intervention). Time to confirmed remission of Charcot neuroarthropathy with off-loading treatment (days) and its variance will be used to inform sample size in a full-scale trial. We will look for opportunities to improve the protocols for monitoring techniques and the clinical, patient centred, and health economic measures used in a future study. For the nested qualitative study, we will invite a purposive sample of 10-14 people able to offer maximally varying experiences from the feasibility study to take part in semi-structured interviews to be analysed using thematic analysis.
The study will inform the decision whether to proceed to a full-scale trial. It will also allow deeper understanding of the lived experience of Charcot neuroarthropathy, and factors that contribute to engagement in management and contribute to the development of more effective patient centred strategies.
Trial registration ISRCTN, ISRCTN, 74101606. Registered on 6 November 2017,
- Charcot neuroarthropathy
- Feasibility study
- Patient experience
- Temperature monitoring