Measuring sensory and pain thresholds by Semmes-Weinstein monofilaments in patients with leg ulcers: a pilot study
SourceJournal of Wound Care, 28, 10, (2019), pp. 647-655
Article / Letter to editor
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Journal of Wound Care
SubjectRadboudumc 18: Healthcare improvement science RIHS: Radboud Institute for Health Sciences; Radboudumc 4: lnfectious Diseases and Global Health RIHS: Radboud Institute for Health Sciences
OBJECTIVE: Pain is a common and disabling symptom in patients with leg ulcers. Clinical quantification of pain mostly depends on subjective pain reports, which do not reveal underlying mechanisms. The aim of this pilot study is to identify mechanisms underlying the pain in patients with leg ulcers by documenting alterations in pain processing using quantitative sensory testing. METHODS: In nine ulcer patients the mechanical sensory thresholds and the mechanical pain thresholds were determined by Semmes-Weinstein monofilaments (SWM) at three different sites: on the contralateral (unaffected) leg, on the skin of the affected leg 10cm from the ulcer margin, and on the affected leg, close (1-2cm) to the ulcer margin. Besides the mechanical sensory thresholds and mechanical pain thresholds, pain at the site of the ulcer, using an 11-point numeric rating scale (NRS), was documented. RESULTS: Mechanical sensory thresholds were increased in all subjects. Almost half (44%) of patients consistently showed allodynia at the unaffected site. The lowering of mechanical pain thresholds correlated with higher scores on the NRS. CONCLUSION: All patients showed diminished touch and/or protective sensation, which might have contributed to ulcer development via (partial) loss of protective function. The allodynia at the unaffected site suggests the presence of central sensitisation of pain processing.
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