Prosthetics And Diabetes – Keeping Diabetic Patients On Their Own Two Feet
The occurrence of diabetes, already the leading cause of limb loss in the United States, is growing. Prosthetists, orthotists and pedorthists see more patients with diabetes than any other presenting condition. If any patient type can be described as the foundation of O&P practice in this country, it would be the older diabetic individual with peripheral sensory neuropathy.
Despite decades of progress in managing the disease, the course of diabetes still frequently culminates in varying degrees of lower-limb morbidity and ultimately amputation. An estimated 90,000 lower-limb amputations were performed on diabetic patients last year with vascular insufficiency secondary to diabetes as the predominant cause.
With other types of practitioners usually involved in diabetic limb care, we frequently do not see a diabetic patient until an infection, lesion or deformity has progressed to the point that amputation has become the best option, and we are engaged to provide prosthetic management. However, be assured our team is well prepared to help at risk patients preserve their intact limbs, be it one limb following amputation of the other… or both.
Another disturbing diabetes statistic reveals that up to 50 percent of surviving diabetic amputees will lose their contralateral limb within five years of an initial amputation. Our goal is not to add to that number. In the case of unilateral diabetic amputees, it is not uncommon to have rigorous orthotic-pedorthic management under way for the non-amputated leg while active prosthetic care is in progress.
Such is particularly the case d Continue reading