Some Morphological and Functional Aspects of Chronic Osteomyelitis in Patients with Neurogenic Foot Deformities

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Relevance. Neurological disorders are one the most frequent cause for developing of chronic foot inflammation. Analysis of pathological picture of chronic osteomyelitis in patients with neurogenic foot deformities, including cases of spina bifida, is not adequately addressed.

Purpose of the study — to examine morpho-functional aspects of chronic osteomyelitis in patients with multicomponent foot deformities and with spina bifida.

Materials and Methods. The present paper is based on the study of 30 patients with multicomponent neurological foot deformities complicated by chronic osteomyelitis who had medical history of spina bifida (myelomeningocele type). Histology was used to examine resected fragments of affected bone tissue, bone sequestration and skin adjacent to osteomyelitis area. Laser doppler flowmetry was used to study capillary cutaneous blood flow on plantar foot surface. Thermal and pain sensitivity was assessed by electric sensimeter in L4, L5, S1 dermatomas on the right and on the left sides.

Results. Biopsy skin specimens harvested at osteomyelitis area demonstrated signs of parakeratosis, absence of stratum lucidum, epidermis acanthosis with 25% thickness increase (р = 0,04), 2,2 times increase of density for microvessels of the dermis (р = 0,73Е-4) and increased rate of capillary blood flow at 81,6±14,2% (р = 0,0004), fibrosis and dermis thinning at 19,1% (р = 0,03), 1,37 times increase in bulk density of perspiratory glands (р= 0,04), loss of adipose tissue and degeneration of nerve fibers in the majority of nerve stems of the dermis. Above factors were accompanied by disorders in thermal and pain sensitivity in 100% of cases and in 29% of those sensitivity was missing. Morphological picture of bone tissue in osteomyelitic area was manifested by multiple destruction cavities with pyogenic membrane, granular tissue of varying maturity, combined chronic and acute stages of the process, and by poor restorative bone formation.

Conclusion. Disorders or lack of thermal and pain sensitivity in dermatomas L4, L5, S1, of safety sense and motion control, resulting chronic load on atypical foot segments, as well as patho-histological skin alterations contribute to ulcer formation and osteomyelitis in patients with spina bifida and multicomponent foot deformities. Morphological picture of foot bony tissue at osteomyelitic site indicates typical patho-morphological signs of chronic inflammation with poor restorative bone formation.

About the authors

A. S. Sudnitsyn

Russian Ilizarov Scientific Center for Restorative Traumatology and Orthopedics


Anatoly S. Sudnitsyn — cand. Sci. (Med.), researcher, Laboratory of Purulent Osteology

Kurgan Russian Federation

E. N. Shchurova

Russian Ilizarov Scientific Center for Restorative Traumatology and Orthopedics

Author for correspondence.

Elena N. Shchurova — Dr. Sci. (Biol.), leading researcher, Laboratory of Deformity Correction and Limb Lengthening

Kurgan Russian Federation

T. N. Varsegova

Russian Ilizarov Scientific Center for Restorative Traumatology and Orthopedics


Tatyana N. Varsegova — cand. Sci. (Biol.), senior researcher, Laboratory of Morphology

Kurgan Russian Federation

T. A. Stupina

Russian Ilizarov Scientific Center for Restorative Traumatology and Orthopedics


Tatyana A. Stupina — Dr. Sci. (Biol.), leading researcher, Laboratory of Morphology

Kurgan Russian Federation

N. S. Migalkin

Russian Ilizarov Scientific Center for Restorative Traumatology and Orthopedics


Nikolay S. Migalkin — researcher, Laboratory of Morphology

Kurgan Russian Federation


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