Matthew E. Wise, Elizabeth Bancroft, Ernest J. Clement, Susan Hathaway, Patricia High, Moon Kim, Emily Lutterloh, Joseph F. Perz, Lynne M. Sehulster, Clara Tyson, Mary Beth White-Comstock, and Barbara Montana
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.
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)
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)
An updated selection of high-quality Internet resources related to wound and ulcer care is presented. Of potential use to the podiatric medical practitioner, educator, resident, and student, some Web sites that cover hyperbaric medicine, antibiotic use, and wound and ulcer prevention are also included. These Web sites have been evaluated on the basis of their potential to enhance the practice of podiatric medicine, in addition to contributing to the educational process. Readers who require a quick reference source to wound and ulcer care may find this report useful. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 96(3): 264–268, 2006)
It has been more than 14 years since identification of the human genome. This phenomenon is creating a revolution in all components of the health-care world. To date, little has been included in the podiatric medical literature despite the fact that so many of the conditions affecting the pedal extremity have genomic implications. Genomics will have a major effect on prevention, diagnosis, and patient management and needs to be included in podiatric medical practice as well as in the curriculum of podiatric medical schools.
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)
In 2007, the treatment of diabetes and its complications in the United States generated at least $116 billion in direct costs; at least 33% of these costs were linked to the treatment of foot ulcers. Although the team approach to diabetic foot problems is effective in preventing lower-extremity amputations, the costs associated with implementing a diabetic-foot–care team are not well understood. An analysis of these costs provides the basis for this report.
Diabetic foot problems impose a major economic burden, and costs increase disproportionately to the severity of the condition. Compared with diabetic patients without foot ulcers, the cost of care for those with foot ulcers is 5.4 times higher in the year after the first ulcer episode and 2.8 times higher in the second year. Costs for treating the highest-grade ulcers are 8 times higher than are those for treating low-grade ulcers. Patients with diabetic foot ulcers require more frequent emergency department visits and are more commonly admitted to the hospital, requiring longer lengths of stay. Implementation of the team approach to manage diabetic foot ulcers in a given region or health-care system has been reported to reduce long-term amputation rates 62% to 82%. Limb salvage efforts may include aggressive therapy such as revascularization procedures and advanced wound-healing modalities. Although these procedures are costly, the team approach gradually leads to improved screening and prevention programs and earlier interventions and, thus, seems to reduce long-term costs.
To date, aggressive limb preservation management for patients with diabetic foot ulcers has not usually been paired with adequate reimbursement. It is essential to direct efforts in patient-caregiver education to allow early recognition and management of all diabetic foot problems and to build integrated pathways of care that facilitate timely access to limb salvage procedures. Increasing evidence suggests that the costs of implementing diabetic foot teams can be offset in the long term by improved access to care and reductions in foot complications and amputation rates. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 100(5): 335–341, 2010)
Throughout our medical training, we are taught how to manage patients who present with symptoms: perform a clinical examination, make a diagnosis, and develop a management plan. However, virtually no time is spent on teaching us how to manage patients who have no symptoms because they have lost the ability to feel pain, that is, patients with peripheral neuropathy. The lifetime incidence of foot ulceration in people with diabetes has been estimated to be as high as 25%, and a variety of contributory factors result in a foot being at risk for ulceration. Most important among these factors is peripheral neuropathy, or the loss of the ability to feel pain, temperature, or pressure sensation in the feet and lower legs. Up to 50% of older type 2 diabetic patients have evidence of sensory loss, putting them at risk for foot ulceration. If we are to succeed in reducing the high incidence of foot ulcers, regular screening for peripheral neuropathy is vital in all patients with diabetes. Those found to have any risk factors for foot ulceration require special education and more frequent review, particularly by podiatric physicians. The key message is, therefore, that neuropathic symptoms correlate poorly with sensory loss and that their absence must never be equated with lack of risk of foot ulceration. If we are to succeed in reducing the high incidence of foot ulceration and particularly recurrent ulceration, we must realize that with loss of pain there is also diminished motivation in the healing and prevention of injury. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 100(5): 349–352, 2010)
Google Trends proves to be a novel tool to ascertain the level of public interest in pathology and treatments. From anticipating nascent epidemics with data-driven prevention campaigns to identifying interest in cosmetic or bariatric surgery, Google Trends provides physicians real-time insight into the latest consumer trends.
We used Google Trends to identify temporal trends and variation in the search volume index of four groups of keywords that assessed practitioner-nomenclature inquiries, in addition to podiatric-specific searches for pain, traumatic injury, and common podiatric pathology over a 10-year period. The Mann-Kendall trend test was used to determine a trend in the series, and the Wilcoxon signed-rank test was used to determine whether there was a significant difference between summer and winter season inquiries. Significance was set at P ≤ .05.
The terms “podiatrist” and “foot doctor” experienced increasing Search Volume Index (SVI) and seasonal variation, whereas the terms “foot surgeon” and “podiatric surgeon” experienced no such increase. “Foot pain,” “heel pain,” “toe pain,” and “ankle pain” experienced a significant increase in SVI, with “foot pain” maintaining the highest SVI at all times. Similar results were seen with the terms “foot fractures,” “bunion,” “ingrown toenail,” and “heel spur.” These terms all experienced statistically significant increasing trends; moreover, the SVI was significantly higher in the summer than in the winter for each of these terms.
The results of this study show the utility in illustrating seasonal variation in Internet interest of pathologies today's podiatrist commonly encounters. By identifying the popularity and seasonal variation of practitioner- and pathology-specific search inquiries, resources can be allocated to effectively address current public inquiries. With this knowledge, providers can learn what podiatric-specific interests are trending in their local communities and market their practice accordingly throughout the year.