Skip to main content

An Achilles tendon surgery, a striking skin condition cleared up by zinc, and too much licorice tea were among March’s top medical cases on Figure 1.

Each day, healthcare professionals in 190 countries log on to our platform to share what they’re seeing and sharpen their clinical skills. Each month, we compile the cases they found most engaging, based on:

Community Metrics: The number of times the cases were viewed, discussed, and shared by the more than 2M healthcare professionals on the platform.

Clinical Value: Our medical and community teams assess the quality, complexity, and educational merit of our top cases to highlight the most credible and clinically useful material.

March’s most engaging cases were shared by medical students, best-in-class journals and top specialists. Each of them offers a unique window on healthcare as it happens.

1. “Six cups of licorice tea per day”

“Remind me again,” one family medicine physician archly commented on this popular case from The BMJ, “who said if it’s natural it’s safe and good for you?”

The case described a 45-year-old woman who presented to her general practitioner with a four-month history of hot flushes, night sweats and headaches. This coincided with her increased consumption of licorice tea, which has been linked to hypertension.

A medical student explained the physiology behind the diagnosis: “Really interesting example of endocrine function! Liquorice inhibits 11-Beta hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase. Expressed in certain cells, such as the renal tubule cells, to inactivate cortisol, as otherwise MR respond to cortisol as here! Glad someone found out her tea habits!”

2. Zinc deficiency in a newborn

The British Journal of Dermatology is among the many publications using Figure 1 to reach healthcare professionals, and in these two cases they shared an example of how a zinc deficiency can present on the skin of a newborn.

The first photos featured “brownish-red, eroded macules and papules” on the face and body. The second pictures taken after zinc supplementation therapy, showed “a rapid improvement of the clinical symptoms within days.”

3. Klippel-Trenaunay-Weber Syndrome

This was a great example of a medical student using the discussion on Figure 1 to inform his differential diagnosis. In this case, the patient had a rare syndrome since birth characterized by port wine stains on the skin and venous malformation. A pediatrician suggested Klippel-Trenaunay-Weber Syndrome, and the medical student confirmed this was correct.

4. Foot soaks and neuropathy

“This is simply a fair warning to those physicians who still ask their patients to soak their feet as part of their wound care regimen,” said the podiatrist who introduced this case.

Because many patients with nerve damage can’t feel the temperature of the water, it’s not uncommon to suffer burns as a result of this treatment. As another podiatrist commented, “had [this happen] to 3 patients this month. If the water is hot enough this can occur in just seconds.”

5. Before-and-after Achilles tendon repair

Figure 1 is often used to get fast feedback on a challenging case, but we’re also proud to be the place where healthcare professionals can showcase particularly good examples of their work.

In this before-and-after case, a registered nurse shares a Achilles tendon reconstruction. The patient tore the tendon playing basketball, and the case featured an an excellent comment from one of Figure 1’s top orthopedic surgeons.

“The principles for tendon healing are uniform,” explained Sportsdoc1. “Immobilize for 3 wks. (plantarflexion to reduce stress in this case) then the repair site has early/disorganized collagen. @ 3 weeks begin WBAT & range of motion to apply stress across the repair site to serve as the stimulus for the collagen fibers to re-organize, line up parallel (strong), then calf strengthening exercises beginning 6-8 wks.”


Cases like these are shared every day on Figure 1. Join your fellow healthcare professionals today to start sharpening your clinical skills.