Essential foot care by a podiatrist has now been statistically proven to reduce hospitalization and amputation in adults with diabetes according to a study conducted by Thomson Reuters. Dr. Vickie R. Driver presented the study during the American Podiatric Medical Association’s (APMA) 98th Annual Scientific Meeting in Seattle, July 15-18, 2010. The presentation highlighted the dramatic impact that even a single visit to a podiatrist can have on patients with diabetes.
The study examined records for more than 32,000 patients with diabetes, ages 18-64, and compared health and risk factors for those who had podiatry visits to those who did not. Researchers found that care by a podiatric physician (defined as at least one preventative, pre-ulcer visit) was associated with a nearly 29 percent lower risk of amputation and 24 percent lower risk of hospitalization. Diabetic foot complications are the leading cause of non-traumatic lower limb amputation in the U.S.
“The results of this study undeniably support visits to a podiatrist being critical to a diabetes patient’s health and well being,” said Dr. Driver. “No longer can care by a podiatrist be considered optional for those with diabetes, and the earlier a podiatrist is included in the diabetes management team, the better quality of life for the patient and greater health-care cost savings for all involved. This study clearly allows us to understand both the clinical and economic value of a podiatrist, in the team approach to saving diabetic patients’ feet.”
Lead researcher Teresa Gibson, PhD, director of health outcomes research at Thomson Reuters said, “Using the MarketScan Databases, we statistically matched patients with diabetes and foot ulcers who had visited a podiatrist with like patients who had not. The analysis of the data indicates that patients who had seen a podiatrist in the year prior to the onset of a foot ulcer had significantly lower rates of any amputation and hospitalization than those who had not.” For additional information on the study, visit http://www.apma.org/WorkingForYou/studies.cfm?ItemNumber=1006
Education of the patient and prevention is key in the management of the diabetic foot. For more information see our video: http://www.howcast.com/videos/510235-How-to-Prevent-Diabetes-Complications-in-Feet-Foot-Care.
Diabetic foot care is an essential part of our practice. The American Diabetic Association recommends at least an annual visit to a Podiatrist. For patients with increased risk factors such as poor circulation or loss of feeling to the feet we recommend more frequent visits. During the exam we access skin integrity, vascular status, biomechanical deformities, and sensation.
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