The efficacy of flexor tenotomy to prevent recurrent diabetic foot ulcers (DIAFLEX trial): Study protocol for a randomized controlled trial

M. A. Mens*, T. E. Busch-Westbroek, S. A. Bus, J. J. van Netten, R. H. H. Wellenberg, G. J. Streekstra, M. Maas, M. Nieuwdorp, G. M. M. J. Kerkhoffs, S. A. S. Stufkens

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Foot ulcers are a frequent and costly problem in people with diabetes mellitus and can lead to amputations. Prevention of these ulcers is therefore of paramount importance. Claw/hammer toe deformities are commonly seen in people with diabetes. These deformities increase the risk of ulcer development specifically at the (tip of) the toe. Percutaneous needle tenotomy of the tendon of the m. flexor digitorum longus (tendon tenotomy) can be used to reduce the severity of claw/hammer toe deformity with the goal to prevent ulcer recurrence. The main objective of this randomized controlled trial is to assess the efficacy of flexor tenotomy to prevent recurrence of toe ulcers in people with diabetes and a history of toe (pre-)ulcers. Additionally, we aim to assess interphalangeal joints (IPJ) and metatarsophalangeal joint (MTPJ) angles in a weight-bearing and non-weight-bearing position, barefoot plantar pressure during walking, cost-effectiveness and quality of life before and after the intervention and compare intervention and control study groups. Sixty-six subjects with diabetes and claw/hammer toe deformity and a recent history of (pre-)ulceration on the tip of the toe will be included and randomized between flexor tenotomy of claw/hammer toes (intervention) versus standard of care including orthosis and shoe offloading (controls) in a mono-center randomized controlled trial. registration: NCT05228340.
Original languageEnglish
Article number101107
JournalContemporary Clinical Trials Communications
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2023

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