Retrospective and prospective studies have shown that elevated plantar pressure is a causative factor in the development of many plantar ulcers in diabetic patients and that ulceration is often a precursor of lower-extremity amputation. Herein, we review the evidence that relieving areas of elevated plantar pressure (off-loading) can prevent and heal plantar ulceration.
There is no consensus in the literature concerning the role of off-loading through footwear in the primary or secondary prevention of ulcers. This is likely due to the diversity of intervention and control conditions tested, the lack of information about off-loading efficacy of the footwear used, and the absence of a target pressure threshold for off-loading. Uncomplicated plantar ulcers should heal in 6 to 8 weeks with adequate off-loading. Total-contact casts and other nonremovable devices are most effective because they eliminate the problem of nonadherence to recommendations for using a removable device. Conventional or standard therapeutic footwear is not effective in ulcer healing. Recent US and European surveys show that there is a large discrepancy between guidelines and clinical practice in off-loading diabetic foot ulcers. Many clinics continue to use methods that are known to be ineffective or that have not been proved to be effective while ignoring methods that have demonstrated efficacy.
A variety of strategies are proposed to address this situation, notably the adoption and implementation of recently established international guidelines, which are evidence based and specific, by professional societies in the United States and Europe. Such an approach would improve the often poor current expectations for healing diabetic plantar ulcers. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 100(5): 360–368, 2010)
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.
Surgical intervention for chronic deformities and ulcerations has become an important component in the management of patients with diabetes mellitus. Such patients are no longer relegated to wearing cumbersome braces or footwear for deformities that might otherwise be easily corrected. Although surgical intervention in these often high-risk individuals is not without risk, the outcomes are fairly predictable when patients are properly selected and evaluated. In this brief review, we discuss the rationale and indications for diabetic foot surgery, focusing on the surgical decompression of deformities that frequently lead to foot ulcers. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 100(5): 369–384, 2010)
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 Role of Interdisciplinary Team Approach in the Management of the Diabetic Foot
A Joint Statement from the Society for Vascular Surgery and the American Podiatric Medical Association
The Society for Vascular Surgery (SVS) and the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) recognize the beneficial impact of a multidisciplinary team approach on the care of patients with critical limb ischemia, especially in the diabetic population. As a first step in identifying clinical issues and questions important to both memberships, and to work together to find solutions that will benefit the shared patient, the two organizations appointed a representative group to write a joint statement on the importance of multidisciplinary team approach to the care of the diabetic foot. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 100(4): 309–311, 2010)