There is increasing pressure from industry to use advanced wound care products and technologies. Many are very expensive but promise to reduce overall costs associated with wound care. Compelling anecdotal evidence is provided that inevitably shows wounds that failed all other treatments but responded positively to the subject product. Evidence-based medicine is the standard by which physician-scientists must make their clinical care decisions. In an attempt to provide policy makers with the most current evidence on advanced wound care products, the Department of Veteran Affairs conducted an Evidence-based Synthesis Program review of advanced wound care products. This paper suggests how to take this information and apply it to policy to drive evidence-based care to improve outcomes and fiduciary responsibility.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is a useful tool for many conditions within the scope of practice of a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM). More wound-care clinics are adding HBOT as a service line. The increasing prevalence of DPMs operating inside of these wound-care clinics has raised questions about the licensure and privileging of DPMs to supervise HBOT. This document reviews the safety of outpatient HBOT and provides guidelines for hospitals to credential DPMs to supervise treatments.
Unsafe practices are an underestimated contributor to the disease burden of bloodborne viruses. Outbreaks associated with failures in basic infection prevention have been identified in nonhospital settings with increased frequency in the United States during the past 15 years, representing an alarming trend and indicating that the challenge of providing consistently safe care is not always met. As has been the case with most medical specialties, public health investigations by state and local health departments, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, have identified some instances of unsafe practices that have placed podiatric medical patients at risk for viral, bacterial, and fungal infections. All health-care providers, including podiatric physicians, must make infection prevention a priority in any setting in which care is delivered.
As physicians, podiatric medical doctors should not define themselves as medical professionals who treat the foot and ankle but rather as medical professionals who prevent, diagnose, and treat people who have foot and ankle problems. Patients who come to see podiatric physicians often have other health-care issues, and because of the education and training that doctors of podiatric medicine receive, they are uniquely qualified to identify and respond to findings not only related to the pedal extremity but also that may affect overall health, have a major effect on quality of life, and even help reduce overall health-care costs. The role of podiatric medicine as a truly integrated branch of medical care needs to be reassessed.
Since the 1970s, the profession of podiatric medicine has undergone major changes in the dimensions of its practice as well as its education and training. Herein, I describe how podiatric medicine has evolved to become a profession of independent practitioners who now provide patients with comprehensive medical and surgical care affecting the foot and ankle in community practice, academic health centers, and hospital operating rooms. Preparation for the profession virtually mirrors the education and training of the MD and DO, including a 4-year postbaccalaureate curriculum with a preclinical curriculum that matches that of Liaison Committee on Medical Education–accredited medical schools and most of the clinical curriculum of undergraduate medical education. Completion of the degree of doctor of podiatric medicine prepares graduates to enter hospital-based graduate medical education programs, now 3 years in duration. A description is provided of the current podiatric medical practitioner now prepared at a level that is virtually equal to that of medical and surgical specialists who hold an unrestricted medical license.
The etiology of running-related injuries remains unknown; however, an implicit theory underlies much of the conventional research and practice in the prevention of these injuries. This theory posits that the cause of running-related injuries lies in the high-impact forces experienced when the foot contacts the ground and the subsequent abnormal movement of the subtalar joint. The application of this theory is seen in the design of the modern running shoe, with cushioning, support, and motion control. However, a new theory is emerging that suggests that it is the use of these modern running shoes that has caused a maladaptive running style, which contributes to a high incidence of injury among runners. The suggested application of this theory is to cease use of the modern running shoe and transition to barefoot or minimalist running. This new running paradigm, which is at present inadequately defined, is proposed to avoid the adverse biomechanical effects of the modern running shoe. Future research should rigorously define and then test both theories regarding their ability to discover the etiology of running-related injury. Once discovered, the putative cause of running-related injury will then provide an evidence-based rationale for clinical prevention and treatment.
Foot ulceration and lower-extremity amputation are devastating end-stage complications of diabetes. Despite agreement that diabetic foot self-care is a key factor in prevention of ulcers and amputation, there has only been limited success in influencing these behaviors among patients with diabetes. While most efforts have focused on increasing patient knowledge, knowledge and behavior are poorly correlated. Knowledge is necessary but rarely sufficient for behavior change. A key determinant to adherence to self-care behavior is clinician counseling style. Podiatrists are the ideal providers to engage in a brief behavioral intervention with a patient. Motivational interviewing is a well-accepted, evidence-based teachable approach that enhances self-efficacy and increases intrinsic motivation for change and adherence to treatment. This article summarizes some key strategies that can be employed by podiatrists to improve foot self-care. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 101(1): 78–84, 2011)
Foot orthoses are believed to exert their therapeutic effect on the human locomotor apparatus by altering the location, magnitude, and temporal patterns of ground reaction forces acting on the plantar foot during weightbearing activities. In-shoe pressure-measurement systems are increasingly being used by clinicians and researchers to assess kinetic changes at the foot-orthosis interface to better understand the function of foot orthoses and to derive more efficacious treatments for many painful foot and lower-extremity abnormalities. This article explores how the inherent three-dimensional surface topography and load-deformation characteristics of foot orthoses may challenge the validity, reliability, and clinical usefulness of the data obtained from in-shoe pressure-measurement systems in the context of foot orthotic therapy and research. The inability of in-shoe pressure-measurement systems to measure shearing forces beneath the foot, the required bending of the flat two-dimensional sensor insole to fit the pressure insole to the three-dimensional curves of the orthosis, the subsequent unbending of the sensor insole to display it on a computer monitor, and variations in the load-deformation characteristics of orthoses are all sources of potential error in examination of the kinetic effects of foot orthoses. Consequently, caution is required when interpreting the results of orthotic research that has used in-shoe pressure insole technology. The limitations of the technology should also be given due respect when in-shoe pressure measurement is used to make clinical decisions and prescribe custom foot orthoses for patients. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 100(6): 518–529, 2010)
The topic of pain management remains a minor component of the formal education and training of residents and physicians in the United States. Misguided attitudes concerning acute and chronic pain management, in addition to reservations about the legal aspects of pain management, often translate into a “fear of the unknown” when it comes to narcotic prescription. The intentionally limited scope of this review is to promote an understanding of the laws regulating pain management practices in the United States and to provide recommendations for appropriate pain management assessment and documentation based on the Model Policy for the Use of Controlled Substances for the Treatment of Pain established by the Federation of State Medical Boards of the United States. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 100(6): 511–517, 2010)