Document Type


Publication Date



Arch Phys Med Rehabil Volume 87, November 2006. E34.

Poster Presented at the American Association of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Annual Assembly, November 2006, Honolulu, Hawaii, United States.


Setting: Inpatient rehabilitation unit at a university hospital

Patient: 37-year-old male with diabetic myonecrosis.

Case Description: The patient had a long-standing history of uncontrolled diabetes mellitus with multiple comorbidities, including end-stage renal disease on dialysis and diabetic myonecrosis of the left biceps femoris diagnosed by biopsy and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI.) On this admission, he presented with right leg pain and swelling, found to be a reoccurrence of diabetic myonecrosis in the vastus lateralis, medialis, and intermedius, diagnosed by MRI only. Prior to admission, he lived alone in a wheelchair inaccessible duplex and required minimal assistance with housekeeping.

Assessment/Results: Upon initial consultation, he ambulated 25-50 feet at a minimum assistance level with a single point cane. As he was unsafe to return home alone, he was transferred to inpatient rehabilitation after a two week acute hospitalization. During his rehabilitation stay, he increasingly was unable to tolerate standing secondary to pain, and at discharge, he was non-ambulatory despite many attempts at pain control and assistive devices for ambulation. His right leg swelling persisted throughout his stay. After five weeks on our unit, he was discharged to a long-term care facility at a wheelchair independent level. One year later he still was not ambulating, and still lived in the long-term care facility.

Discussion: Diabetic myonecrosis is an uncommon complication of both insulin-dependent and non-insulin dependent diabetics. Symptoms usually resolve on their own with rest and analgesics within weeks to several months. There are reports of physical therapy prolonging the recovery period and exacerbating symptoms, which may have happened with our patient.

Conclusions: Download poster.