A survey of offloading practices for diabetes-related plantar neuropathic foot ulcers

Journal of Foot and Ankle Research | 

Full text |

 A survey of offloading practices for diabetes-related plantar neuropathic foot ulcers:

Raspovic and Landorf publish interesting and actionable data on offloading.

Abstract

Background

Offloading is key to preventing or healing plantar neuropathic foot ulcers in diabetes. Total contact casts or walkers rendered irremovable are recommended in guidelines as first-line options for offloading, however the use of such devices has been found to be low. This study aimed to investigate offloading practices for diabetes-related plantar neuropathic ulcers.

Methods

An online survey of closed and open-ended questions was administered via SurveyMonkey®. Forty-one podiatrists experienced in high-risk foot practice, from 21 high-risk foot services around Australia, were approached to participate.

Results

The response rate was 88%. Participants reported using 21 modalities or combinations of modalities, for offloading this ulcer type. The most frequently used modalities under the forefoot and hallux were felt padding, followed by removable casts or walkers, then non-removable casts or walkers. Participants indicated that many factors were considered when selecting offloading modality, including: compliance, risk of adverse effects, psycho-social factors, restrictions on activities of daily living, work needs and features of the wound. The majority of participants (83%) considered non-removable casts or walkers to be the gold-standard for offloading this ulcer type, however they reported numerous, particularly patient-related, barriers to their use.

Conclusions

Selecting offloading for the management of foot ulceration is complex. Felt padding, not the gold-standard non-removable cast or walker, was reported as the most commonly selected modality for offloading plantar neuropathic ulceration. However, further evaluation of felt padding in high quality clinical trials is required to ascertain its effectiveness for ulcer healing.
Keywords:

Diabetic foot; Foot ulcer; Diabetic neuropathies

David G. Armstrong

Dedicated to amputation prevention, wound healing, diabetic foot, biotechnology and the intersection between medical devices and consumer electronics.

One comment

Leave a Reply