Hypodermic needles in the neuropathic foot of a patient with diabetes

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A 54-year-old woman with insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, diabetic neuropathy, neuropathic arthropathy of the feet and plantar ulcer underwent plain radiography, which showed 2 clipped-off hypodermic needles, of which she had been unaware, in the soft tissue of one foot. This previously unreported complication is clinically instructive in that it demonstrates the importance of counselling patients about the protection of insensitive extremities. This case also has public health implications, suggesting as it does that the still-common practice of breaking hypodermic needles before disposal should be strongly discouraged.

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