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The prevention and management of foot ulcers, especially in patients with diabetes, is very important to protect them from more serious foot problems. Poor management of foot ulcers, in severe cases, may increase the risk of amputations.
It is important for patients to understand the causes of diabetic foot ulcers and how these can impact the feet and the lower body. This information can be valuable in helping them learn about what preventative care strategies will be best suited for them.
Early examination of foot ulcers and their effects is crucial, considering the risk of disease and mortality associated with the condition.
According to a study by the European Study Group on Diabetes and the Lower Extremity, peripheral neuropathy (nerve damage) and peripheral arterial disease (narrowing of blood vessels) were identified as major risk factors in developing diabetic foot ulcers. The conditions were present in 49% and 86% of the patients respectively.
An Australian study published by the Journal of Foot and Ankle Research identified smoking as another major risk factor for peripheral arterial disease, as more than half of subjects were either smokers or ex-smokers. Increasing age was also established as a contributing factor to chronic wounds, as older cells lack the capability to recover faster and are less responsive to stress.
Another observation from the study was that more than half of the patients were overweight and obese. Weight-related issues can increase the risk of cardiac-related diseases and make it difficult for the patient to keep the excessive weight off the feet. This was backed up by a study in Current Diabetes Review.
Foot posture problems, such as flat feet, can also be a contributing factor for foot ulcers. As the foot flattens on the ground, it may cause uneven distribution of pressure to the feet, which increases the risk of inflammation in stress-prone areas.
Prevention and Care
Preventing foot ulcers, especially in diabetics, should be a top priority. A 2015 study investigating the effectiveness of treatment options found that foot care involving foot skin temperature monitoring, preventative care and use of therapeutic footwear was effective in preventing ulcers.
Using therapeutic shoes with fully customised insoles can help diabetics from developing diabetic foot ulcers. These insoles help promote proper distribution of weight and maintain optimal joint range of motion to limit abnormal foot movements.
MASS4D® full-contact insoles help support the feet in their healthiest posture which reduces pressure in high-risk areas and allows the ulcers to heal properly.
MASS4D® custom insoles are available with a special Bi-Lam top cover that features a double cushion layer to protect against blisters and ulcerations. This offers adequate heel and forefoot support to reduce pressure on the bottom surface of the foot.
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Reference: van Netten, J. J., Price, P. E., Lavery, L. A., Monteiro-Soares, M., Rasmussen, A., Jubiz, Y., Bus, S. A. (2015) Prevention of Foot Ulcers in the At-risk Patient with Diabetes: A Systematic Review. Diabetes/Metabolism Research and Reviews: September 2015, Vol. 32, Supp. 1. DOI: 10.1002/dmrr.2701
Reference: Al Ayed, M. Y., Younes, N., Al-Smady, M., Khader, Y. S., Robert, A. A., Ajlouni, K. (2015) Prevalence of Foot Ulcers, Foot at Risk and Associated Risk Factors Among Jordanian Diabetics. Current Diabetes Reviews: December 2015, Vol. 13, No. 2. DOI: 10.2174/1573399812666151210143140
Reference: Zaine, N. H., Burns, J., Vicaretti, M., Fletcher, J. P., Begg, L., Hitos, K. (2014) Characteristics of Diabetic Foot Ulcers in Western Sydney, Australia. Journal of Foot and Ankle Research: September 2014, Vol. 7, No. 39. DOI: 10.1186/s13047-014-0039-4
Reference: Akhtar, S., Schaper, N., Apelqvist, J., Jude, E. (2011) A Review of the Eurodiale Studies: What Lessons for Diabetic Foot Care? Current Diabetes Reports: May 2011, Vol. 11, No. 4, pp. 302-309. DOI: 10.1007/s11892-011-0195-x
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