Simple interventions can prevent diabetic-related amputations by 50 percent

Across the world, a diabetic-related amputation happens about every 30 seconds.

But researchers at Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden, say taking simple steps toward foot care can cut down the number of diabetic-related amputations by as much as 50 percent.

A pain in the foot

Diabetics commonly suffer from foot complications due to poor circulation in the feet. Ultimately, overloading the sensitive feet can cause ulcers, making it necessary to amputate one or both feet.

In the Swedish study, 114 patients with diabetes and ulcer risks were studied after being given one of three different types of shoe inserts that were worn over two years.

An insert a day keeps the doctor away

Results showed that wearing inserts and having podiatry checkups prevented ulcers, which cut the participants' risk of needing amputations in half.

“We found that good shoes and inserts can reduce pressure on the foot by 50 percent compared with going barefoot,” said doctoral student Ulla Tang.

Tang notes that the inserts, which are typically affordable for most people, distribute pressure, and that helps to minimize foot problems. Less than 1 percent of the study participants wearing inserts developed foot ulcers in a year. The percentage of people who develop ulcers while not wearing inserts is estimated to be about 3-8 percent.

The researchers are also working on developing a digital platform that will allow an orthotist to assess the risk for foot ulcers and recommend the right shoes and/or inserts.

Source: Science Daily

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