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Although total-contact cast (TCC) systems are considered the gold standard for off-loading plantar ulcers, less than 6% of patients with diabetic foot ulcers receive them due to negative perceptions of special technique requirements and time investment in their application and removal. We compared the ease of use and casting time of four TCC systems.
Four novice casters applied each of the four TCC systems three times using the manufacturer's written instructions for cast application and removal of each cast type. For each TCC system, casters also provided ratings of quality and effectiveness, their level of confidence in applying each system, and overall ease of use.
The time to complete the first application of each cast type was not different among TCC systems. However, by the third application, TCC-EZ had a significantly faster application time than the other three TCC systems. In addition, TCC-EZ was considered better overall in packaging and instructions, quality of cast components, and casting method than the other TCC systems. Half of the casters rated TCC-EZ and MedE-Kast as the easiest to apply after the third and final trial, and TCC-EZ and MedE-Kast were rated as being the cast chosen to use in the casters' clinical practices.
One of the obstacles to use of TCC systems, despite being recognized as the gold standard of off-loading, is the perception of a prolonged learning curve on application. This study demonstrated that TCC-EZ can be applied by novice casters in less than 14 minutes after their third application experience.