Background: Despite national and international guidelines supporting podiatric services as a means of prevention for lower-extremity complications, especially in at-risk individuals, current coverage for these services under the US Medicaid program is not universal. The vast differences between state Medicaid programs regarding reimbursable foot care services is confusing and potentially serves as a barrier for the most vulnerable populations to receive preventative services. This article provides a brief discussion of “routine” podiatric services from a clinical perspective and provides a review of state Medicaid programs including optional services (eg, podiatric coverage).
Methods: Using data from a national survey of state Medicaid programs, we present and discuss common Medicaid coverage schemes for routine foot care provided by podiatric physicians.
Results: Analysis demonstrated that states vary dramatically in basic descriptions of preventive foot care, levels of coverage, eligibility, and methods of documenting coverage details.
Conclusions: The authors recommend bringing Medicaid in line with other federal health programs and including podiatric physicians in the definition of “physician” for coverage purposes. States should move away from describing preventative services as “routine” and choose language that more accurately reflects the true nature and purpose of the care.
This historical perspective highlights some of the pioneers, milestones, teams, and system changes that have had a major impact on management of the diabetic foot during the past 100 years. In 1934, American diabetologist Elliott P. Joslin noted that mortality from diabetic coma had fallen from 60% to 5% after the introduction of insulin, yet deaths from diabetic gangrene of the lower extremity had risen significantly. He believed that diabetic gangrene was preventable. His remedy was a team approach that included foot care, diet, exercise, prompt treatment of foot infections, and specialized surgical care.
The history of the team approach to management of the diabetic foot chronicles the rise of a new health profession—podiatric medicine and surgery—and emergence of the specialty of vascular surgery. The partnership among the diabetologist, vascular surgeon, and podiatric surgeon is a natural one. The complementary skills and knowledge of each can improve limb salvage and functional outcomes. Comprehensive multidisciplinary foot-care programs have been shown to increase quality of care and reduce amputation rates by 36% to 86%. Development of distal revascularization techniques to restore pulsatile blood flow to the foot has also been a major advancement.
Patients with diabetic foot complications are among the most complex and vulnerable of all patient populations. Specialized diabetic foot clinics of the 21st century should be multidisciplinary and equipped to coordinate diagnosis, off-loading, and preventive care; to perform revascularization procedures; to aggressively treat infections; and to manage medical comorbidities. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 100(5): 317–334, 2010)
Background: Diabetes-related lower-extremity amputations are largely preventable. Eighty-five percent of amputations are preceded by a foot ulcer. Effective management of ulcers, which leads to healing, can prevent limb loss.
Methods: In a county hospital, we implemented a six-step approach to the diabetic limb at risk. We calculated the frequency and level of lower-extremity amputations for 12 months before and 12 months after implementation of the amputation prevention program. We also calculated the high-low amputation ratio for the years reviewed. The high-low amputation ratio is a quality measure for the success of amputation prevention measures and is calculated as the ratio of the number of high amputations (limb losses) over the number of low (partial foot) amputations.
Results: The frequency of total amputations increased from 24 in year 1 to 46 in year 2. However, the number of limb losses decreased from 7 to 2 (72%). The high-low amputation ratio decreased eightfold in 1 year, which serves as a marker for limb salvage success.
Conclusions: Improvement in care organization and multidisciplinary-centered protocols can substantially reduce limb losses. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 100(2): 101–104, 2010)
Previous study indicates that pharmacologic antithrombotic therapy may be an inhibitory factor for wound healing and should merit consideration among the other core factors in wound healing optimization.
This study provides a retrospective analysis of the effect of antithrombotic therapy on wound healing rates of uncomplicated diabetic foot ulcerations. Wounds treated with standard of care in the presence of clinical anticoagulation were compared to control wounds.
The results indicate a statistically significant negative correlation between antithrombotic therapy and diabetic foot wound healing rate. This represents the first study focusing on this correlation in the uncomplicated diabetic foot wound.
This retrospective study demonstrates that antithrombotic therapy has a statistically significant negative effect on healing rates of uncomplicated diabetic foot ulcerations. Both wound area and depth improvement over 4 weeks was significantly better in treated patients who were not on antithrombotic therapy for comorbidity not associated with peripheral arterial disease.
Diabetic foot disease frequently leads to substantial long-term complications, imposing a huge socioeconomic burden on available resources and health-care systems. Peripheral neuropathy, repetitive trauma, and peripheral vascular disease are common underlying pathways that lead to skin breakdown, often setting the stage for limb-threatening infection. Individuals with diabetes presenting with foot infection warrant optimal surgical management to affect limb salvage and prevent amputation; aggressive short-term and meticulous long-term care plans are required. In addition, the initial surgical intervention or series of interventions must be coupled with appropriate systemic metabolic management as part of an integrated, multidisciplinary team. Such teams typically include multiple medical, surgical, and nursing specialties across a variety of public and private health-care systems. This article presents a stepwise approach to the diagnosis and treatment of diabetic foot infections with emphasis on the appropriate use of surgical interventions and includes the following key elements: incision, wound investigation, debridement, wound irrigation and lavage, and definitive wound closure. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 100(5): 401–405, 2010)
The coronavirus disease of 2019 pandemic has disrupted health care, with its far-reaching effects seeping into chronic disease evaluation and treatment. Our tertiary wound care center was specially designed to deliver the highest quality care to wounded patients. Before the pandemic, we were able to ensure rapid treatment by means of validated protocols delivered by a colocalized multidisciplinary team within the hospital setting. The pandemic has disrupted our model’s framework, and we have worked to adapt our workflow without sacrificing quality of care. Using the modified Donabedian model of quality assessment, we present an analysis of prepandemic and intrapandemic characteristics of our center. In this way, we hope other providers can use this framework for identifying evolving problems within their practice so that quality care can continue to be delivered to all patients.
This study evaluated changes in pressure imparted to diabetic foot wounds using a novel negative pressure bridging technique coupled with a robust removable cast walker. Ten patients had plantar pressures assessed with and without a bridged negative pressure dressing on the foot. Off-loading was accomplished with a pressure-relief walker. Plantar pressures were recorded using two pressure-measurement systems. The location and value of peak focal pressure (taken from six midgait steps) were recorded at the site of ulceration. Paired analysis revealed a large difference (mean ± SD, 74.6% ± 6.0%) between baseline barefoot pressure and pressure within the pressure-relief walker (mean ± SD, 939.1 ± 195.1 versus 235.7 ± 66.1 kPa). There was a mean ± SD 9.9% ± 5.6% higher pressure in the combination device compared with the pressure-relief walker alone (mean ± SD, 258.0 ± 69.7 versus 235.7 ± 66.1 kPa). This difference was only 2% of the initial barefoot pressure imparted to the wound. A modified negative pressure dressing coupled with a robust removable cast walker may not impart undue additional stress to the plantar aspect of the foot and may allow patients to retain some degree of freedom (and a potentially reduced length of hospital stay) while still allowing for the beneficial effects of negative pressure wound therapy and sufficient off-loading. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 94(5): 456–460, 2004)
Background: We used a model of lower-extremity ulceration to determine the impact of a podiatric lead limb preservation team on identified relationships among risk factors, predictors of ulceration, amputation, and clinical outcomes of lower-extremity disease in patients with diabetes mellitus.
Methods: A total of 485 patients with diabetes mellitus were randomly selected from the diabetic population and included in this retrospective cohort study. Patients were then stratified into two groups: those who received specialty podiatric medical care and those who did not. Data covering a 5-year period were collected using electronic medical records and chart abstraction to capture detailed treatment characteristics, ulcer status, and surgical outcomes.
Results: Overall, the frequencies of inpatient and outpatient encounters and the durations of hospital stays were significantly greater with increasing wound depth and in the presence of infection. In addition, the overall ulcer incidence was greater in patients with callus (34.3% versus 10.3%, P < .0001) with and without neuropathy (20.4% and 4.1%, P < .0001). Among patients treated in a specialty multidiscipline podiatric medical setting, the proportion of all amputations that were “minor” was significantly increased (33.7% versus 67.3%, P = .0006), and survival was significantly improved (19.5% versus 7.7%, P < .0001).
Conclusions: Early identification of individuals at increased risk for lower-extremity ulceration and subsequent referral for advanced multidiscipline podiatric medical specialty care may decrease rates of ulceration and proximal amputation and improve survival in patients with diabetes mellitus who are at high risk for ulceration and limb loss. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 100(4): 235–241, 2010)
The objective of this investigation was to determine the level of agreement between a systematic clinical Doppler examination of the foot and ankle and diagnostic peripheral angiography.
The described Doppler examination technique attempted to determine the patency, quality, and direction of the flow through the dorsalis pedis artery, posterior tibial artery, terminal branches of the peroneal artery, and vascular arch of the foot. These results were then compared with angiographic distal run-off images as interpreted by a blinded vascular surgeon.
Levels of agreement with respect to artery patency/quality ranged from 64.0% to 84.0%. Sensitivity ranged from 53.8% to 84.2%, and specificity ranged from 64.7% to 91.7%. Agreement with respect to arterial flow direction ranged from 73.3% to 90.5%.
We interpret these results to indicate that this comprehensive physical examination technique of the arterial flow to the foot and ankle with a Doppler device might serve as a reasonable initial surrogate to diagnostic angiography in some patients with peripheral arterial disease.