Skin breakdown of the feet in patients with spina bifida: Analysis of risk factors

Academic Article


  • PURPOSE: Recent studies on patients with spina bifida have noted an increased incidence of skin breakdown with more proximal functional neurologic level. We hypothesized that there would be an inverse relationship between skin breakdown of the foot and severity of functional level of lesion, because patients with more caudal levels of lesion spend more time ambulating. METHODS: The National Spina Bifida Patient Registry (NSBPR) at Children's of Alabama was queried for the presence of skin breakdown of the foot, ambulatory status, functional neurologic level, and diagnosis of myelomeningocoele (MMC) vs. non-myelomeningocoele (non-MMC). Univariate and multivariate analysis were performed. RESULTS: Of 491 total patients, 378 were MMC and 113 were non-MMC. Eighty-five of 378 (22.5%) patients with MMC and 5 of 113 (4.4%) non-MMC patients reported skin breakdown (p= 0.009). Thoracic and lumbar levels were compared to the sacral level for statistical analysis. Skin breakdown occurred in 26.2% of thoracic (p= 0.001), 33.3% of high-lumbar (p= 0.001), 21.5% of mid-lumbar (p= 0.008), 26.2% of low-lumbar (p= 0.001), and 6.1% of sacral level patients. Ambulatory status was not significant on multivariate analysis. CONCLUSION: A diagnosis of MMC is a significant, independent risk factor for skin breakdown of the foot. Compared to sacral level, thoracic and lumbar levels of function were also independently significant. Ambulatory status was not significant.
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    Author List

  • Conklin MJ; Hopson B; Arynchyna A; Atchley T; Trapp C; Rocque BG
  • Start Page

  • 237
  • End Page

  • 241
  • Volume

  • 11
  • Issue

  • 4