Botulinum toxin effects on gasatrocnemius strength and plantar pressure in diabetics with peripheral neuropathy and forefoot ulceration

Mary K. Hastings, Michael J. Mueller, David R. Sinacore, Michael J. Strube, Beth E. Crowner, Jeffrey E. Johnson, Brad R. Racette

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background: High forefoot plantar pressure is associated with plantar ulcers in people with diabetes and peripheral neuropathy. The purpose of this pilot study was to determine the safety and efficacy of botulinum toxin A injected into the gastrocnemius-soleus muscles to reduce muscle strength and plantar pressure. Methods: This double blind, randomized clinical trial studied 17 people with diabetes mellitus, peripheral neuropathy and a forefoot plantar ulcer. Subjects were randomized into one of three groups receiving gastrocnemiussoleus muscle injections on the involved side with; 1) Saline (n = 5, weight = 99 ± 21 kg), 2) 200-units of Botox® (n = 7, weight = 101 ± 5 kg), or 3) 300-units of Botox® (n = 5, weight = 129 ± 22 kg). Botox® dose was converted to units/kg, the majority received between 1.9 and 2.4 units/kg (n = 11) and one 3.2 units/kg. Plantarflexor peak torque and forefoot peak plantar pressure were quantified prior and 2 weeks postinjection. Results: There were no complications from the injections. Plantarflexor peak torque on the involved side increased in the placebo and 300 groups (3 ±4 Nm and 6 ± 10 Nm, respectively) and decreased -8 ± 11 Nm in the 200 group. There was no relationship between units/kg of Botox® for each subject and change in plantarflexor peak torque. Forefoot peak plantar pressure did not change in the placebo and 300 groups (0 ± 11 and 0 ± 5 N/cm2, respectively) and decreased -4 ± 16 N/cm2 (4%) for the 200 group. Conclusion: There were no adverse events associated with the Botox® injections. This study was unable to determine the dose to consistently reduce plantarflexor strength and forefoot plantar pressure. Additional research is needed to investigate diabetes mellitus specific physiological changes and their impact of BoNT-A effectiveness in order to guide appropriate dosing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)363-370
Number of pages8
JournalFoot and Ankle International
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2012


  • BoNT-A
  • Botulinum toxin A
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Peripheral nervous system diseases


Dive into the research topics of 'Botulinum toxin effects on gasatrocnemius strength and plantar pressure in diabetics with peripheral neuropathy and forefoot ulceration'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this