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Promoting the Role of Virtual Reality in Patients with Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy
Individuals with diabetic peripheral neuropathy frequently experience concomitant impaired proprioception and postural instability. Conventional exercise training has been demonstrated to be effective in improving balance but does not incorporate visual feedback targeting joint perception, which is an integral mechanism that helps compensate for impaired proprioception in diabetic peripheral neuropathy.
This prospective cohort study recruited 29 participants (mean ± SD: age, 57 ± 10 years; body mass index [calculated as weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared], 26.9 ± 3.1). Participants satisfying the inclusion criteria performed predefined ankle exercises through reaching tasks, with visual feedback from the ankle joint projected on a screen. Ankle motion in the mediolateral and anteroposterior directions was captured using wearable sensors attached to the participant’s shank. Improvements in postural stability were quantified by measuring center of mass sway area and the reciprocal compensatory index before and after training using validated body-worn sensor technology.
Findings revealed a significant reduction in center of mass sway after training (mean, 22%; P = .02). A higher postural stability deficit (high body sway) at baseline was associated with higher training gains in postural balance (reduction in center of mass sway) (r = −0.52, P < .05). In addition, significant improvement was observed in postural coordination between the ankle and hip joints (mean, 10.4%; P = .04).
The present research implemented a novel balance rehabilitation strategy based on virtual reality technology. The method included wearable sensors and an interactive user interface for real-time visual feedback based on ankle joint motion, similar to a video gaming environment, for compensating impaired joint proprioception. These findings support that visual feedback generated from the ankle joint coupled with motor learning may be effective in improving postural stability in patients with diabetic peripheral neuropathy. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 103(6): 498–507, 2013)
Emergency department visits for lower extremity complications of diabetes are extremely common throughout the world. Surprisingly, recent data suggest that such visits generate an 81.2% hospital admission rate with an annual bill of at least $1.2 billion in the United States alone. The likelihood of amputation and other subsequent adverse outcomes is strongly associated with three factors: 1) wound severity (degree of tissue loss), 2) ischemia, and 3) foot infection. Using these factors, this article outlines the basic principles needed to create an evidence-based, rapid foot assessment for diabetic foot ulcers presenting to the emergency department, and suggests the establishment of a “hot foot line” for an organized, expeditious response from limb salvage team members. We present a nearly immediate assessment and referral system for patients with atraumatic tissue loss below the knee that has the potential to vastly expedite lower extremity triage in the emergency room setting through greater collaboration and organization.
Maggot debridement therapy is rapidly increasing in popularity at major diabetic foot and wound care centers worldwide. However, we are unaware of specific guidelines on the short-term storage of larvae. We sought to evaluate differences in maggot motility over time in larvae refrigerated versus those stored at room temperature. We also introduce a simple surrogate method for evaluating maggot vitality that may be useful for in vivo studies if validated in future works. We randomly selected ten larvae from the same shipment at ten different times in 9 days. Larvae were placed on a translucent acetate grid, and their total excursion in 30 sec was measured. This was converted into a Maggot Motility Index. In the refrigerated group, the index remained at or above 40 mm/min for approximately 60 hours from baseline, when there was a significant decrease. This same phenomenon occurred during the first 12 hours in the nonrefrigerated group. There were significant differences in motility between refrigerated and nonrefrigerated larvae immediately after baseline until day 8. Larvae are more practical for repeated clinical use if kept refrigerated between applications. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 94(4): 353–355, 2004)
Poorly fitting footwear has frequently been cited as an etiologic factor in the pathway to diabetic foot ulceration. However, we are unaware of any reports in the medical literature specifically measuring shoe size versus foot size in this high-risk population. We assessed the prevalence of poorly fitting footwear in individuals with and without diabetic foot ulceration. We evaluated the shoe size of 440 consecutive patients (94.1% male; mean ± SD age, 67.2 ± 12.5 years) presenting to an interdisciplinary teaching clinic. Of this population, 58.4% were diagnosed as having diabetes, and 6.8% had active diabetic foot ulceration. Only 25.5% of the patients were wearing appropriately sized shoes. Individuals with diabetic foot ulceration were 5.1 times more likely to have poorly fitting shoes than those without a wound (93.3% versus 73.2%; odds ratio [OR], 5.1; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.2–21.9; P = .02). This association was also evident when assessing only the 32.3% of the total population with diabetes and loss of protective sensation (93.3% versus 75.0%; OR, 4.8; 95% CI, 1.1–20.9; P = .04). Poorly fitting shoes seem to be more prevalent in people with diabetic foot wounds than in those without wounds with or without peripheral neuropathy. This implies that appropriate meticulous screening for shoe-foot mismatches may be useful in reducing the risk of lower-extremity ulceration. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 96(4): 290–292, 2006)
Diabetic foot ulcers (DFUs) are a major burden to patients and to the health-care systems of many countries. To prevent or treat ulcers more effectively, predictive biomarkers are needed. We examined temperature as a biomarker and as a causative factor in ulcer development.
Thirty-seven individuals with diabetes were enrolled in this observational case-control study: nine with diabetic neuropathy and ulcer history (DFU), 14 with diabetic neuropathy (DN), and 14 nonneuropathic control participants (DC). Resting barefoot plantar temperatures were recorded using an infrared thermal camera. Mean temperatures were determined in four anatomical regions—hallux and medial, central, and lateral forefoot—and separate linear models with specified contrasts among the DFU, DN, and DC groups were set to reveal mean differences for each foot region while controlling for group characteristics.
The mean temperature reading in each foot region was higher than 30.0°C in the DFU and DN groups and lower than 30.0°C in the DC group. Mean differences were greatest between the DFU and DC groups, ranging from 3.2°C in the medial forefoot to 4.9°C in the hallux.
Increased plantar temperatures in individuals with a history of ulcers may include acute temperature increases from plantar stresses, chronic inflammation from prolonged stresses, and impairment in temperature regulation from autonomic neuropathy. Diabetic foot temperatures, particularly in patients with previous ulcers, may easily reach hazard thresholds indicated by previous pressure ulcer studies. The results necessitate further exploration of temperature in the diabetic foot and how it may contribute to ulceration.
Dosing Activity and Return to Preulcer Function in Diabetes-Related Foot Ulcer Remission
Patient Recommendations and Guidance from the Limb Preservation Consortium at USC and the Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center
Diabetes-related foot ulcers are a leading cause of global morbidity, mortality, and health-care costs. People with a history of foot ulcers have a diminished quality of life attributed to limited walking and mobility. One of the largest concerns is ulceration recurrence. Approximately 40% of patients with ulcerations will have a recurrent ulcer in the year after healing, and most occur in the first 3 months after wound healing. Hence, this period after ulceration is called “remission” due to this risk of reulceration. Promoting and fostering mobility is an integral part of everyday life and is important for maintaining good physical health and health-related quality of life for all people living with diabetes. In this short perspective, we provide recommendations on how to safely increase walking activity and facilitate appropriate off-loading and monitoring in people with a recently healed foot ulcer, foot reconstruction, or partial foot amputation. Interventions include monitored activity training, dosed out in steadily increasing increments and coupled with daily skin temperature monitoring, which can identify dangerous “hotspots” prone to recurrence. By understanding areas at risk, patients are empowered to maximize ulcer-free days and to enable an improved quality of life. This perspective outlines a unified strategy to treat patients in the remission period after ulceration and aims to provide clinicians with appropriate patient recommendations based on best available evidence and expert opinion to educate their patients to ensure a safe transition to footwear and return to activity.
The publication of the Global Vascular Guidelines in 2019 provide evidence-based, best practice recommendations on the diagnosis and treatment of chronic limb-threatening ischemia (CLTI). Certainly, the multidisciplinary team, and more specifically one with collaborating podiatrists and vascular specialists, has been shown to be highly effective at improving the outcomes of limbs at risk for amputation. This article uses the Guidelines to answer key questions for podiatrists who are caring for the patient with CLTI.
The diabetic Charcot foot syndrome is a serious and potentially limb-threatening lower-extremity complication of diabetes. First described in 1883, this enigmatic condition continues to challenge even the most experienced practitioners. Now considered an inflammatory syndrome, the diabetic Charcot foot is characterized by varying degrees of bone and joint disorganization secondary to underlying neuropathy, trauma, and perturbations of bone metabolism. An international task force of experts was convened by the American Diabetes Association and the American Podiatric Medical Association in January 2011 to summarize available evidence on the pathophysiology, natural history, presentations, and treatment recommendations for this entity. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 101(5): 437–446, 2011)