The total-contact cast (TCC) is the gold standard for off-loading diabetic foot ulcers (DFUs) given its nonremovable nature. However, this modality remains underused in clinical settings due to the time and experience required for appropriate application. The TCC-EZ is an alternative off-loading modality marketed as being nonremovable and having faster and easier application. This study aims to investigate the potential of the TCC-EZ to reduce foot plantar pressures.
Twelve healthy participants (six males, six females) were fitted with a removable cast walker, TCC, TCC-EZ, and TCC-EZ with accompanying brace removed. These off-loading modalities were tested against a control. Pedar-X technology measured peak plantar pressures in each condition. Statistical analysis of four regions of the foot (rearfoot, midfoot, forefoot, and hallux) was conducted with Friedman and Wilcoxon signed rank tests. Significance was set at P < .05.
All of the off-loading conditions significantly reduced pressure compared with the control, except the TCC-EZ without the brace in the hallux region. There was no statistically significant difference between TCC-EZ and TCC peak pressure in any foot region. The TCC-EZ without the brace obtained significantly higher peak pressures than with the brace. The removable cast walker produced similar peak pressure reduction in the midfoot and forefoot but significantly higher peak pressures in the rearfoot and hallux.
The TCC-EZ is a viable alternative to the TCC. However, removal of the TCC-EZ brace results in minimal plantar pressure reduction, which might limit clinical applications of the TCC-EZ.
Clinicians routinely assess foot posture as part of their assessment and management of foot pathologies. Flat or high-arched foot postures have been linked to kinematic deviations and increased risk of foot injuries. The Foot Posture Index (FPI) is a valid clinical tool used to classify feet into high-arched, normal-arched, and flat foot groups and predicts foot function during walking well. Walking and running are distinct locomotion styles, and studies have not been performed to correlate FPI to foot function during running. This study aims to investigate the association of FPI scores to foot kinematics during running. The results will further inform clinicians who perform static assessment of feet of individuals who are runners.
Sixty-nine participants had their feet assessed using the FPI scoring system. Based on these scores, the feet were categorized as flat foot, normal-arched, and high-arched. Rearfoot eversion and forefoot dorsiflexion (arch flattening) of the foot were analysed during slow running between 1.4 and 2.2 m/sec. The Pearson correlation was used to analyse the FPI scores on an interval scale, with Cohen's d used to report effect size. One-way analysis of variance and a Bonferroni post hoc test was used to analyze data by category. Level of significance was set at P < .05.
Thirty-four flat feet, 26 normal-arched feet, and nine high-arched feet were analyzed. The FPI scores correlated significantly with rearfoot eversion (moderate effect size) and forefoot dorsiflexion (low effect size). Rearfoot eversion was greatest in the flat foot, followed by the normal-arched foot and the high-arched foot. Forefoot dorsiflexion was significantly higher in the flat foot compared with the high-arched group.
Foot Posture Index scores are positively correlated with rearfoot eversion and forefoot dorsiflexion during running. Clinicians can use this information to aid their foot assessment and management of individuals who are runners.
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.