All Feet On Deck—The Role of Podiatry During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Preventing hospitalizations in an overburdened healthcare system, reducing amputation and death in people with diabetes

Lee C. Rogers DPM1, Lawrence A. Lavery DPM, MPH2, Warren S. Joseph DPM, FIDSA3, and David G. Armstrong DPM, MD, PhD4
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  • 1 American Board of Podiatric Medicine, Los Angeles, California
  • | 2 Professor, Department of Plastic Surgery, University of Texas, Southwestern Medical Center Dallas, Texas
  • | 3 Editor, Journal of the American Podiatric Medical Association, Bethesda, Maryland
  • | 4 Professor of Surgery and Director, Southwestern Academic Limb Salvage Alliance (SALSA), Keck School of Medicine of University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California

The COVID-19 pandemic is driving significant change in the healthcare system and disrupting the best practices for diabetic limb preservation, leaving large numbers of patients without care. Patients with diabetes and foot ulcers are at increased risk for infections, hospitalization, amputations, and death. Podiatric care is associated with fewer diabetes-related amputations, ER visits, hospitalizations, length-of-stay, and costs. But podiatrists must mobilize and adopt the new paradigm of shifts away from hospital care to community-based care. Implementing the proposed Pandemic Diabetic Foot Triage System, in-home visits, higher acuity office visits, telemedicine, and remote patient monitoring can help podiatrists manage patients while reducing the COVID-19 risk. The goal of podiatrists during the pandemic is to reduce the burden on the healthcare system by keeping diabetic foot and wound patients safe, functional, and at home.