Therapeutic Shoes and Foot Care Contribute to 65 percent Decline in Diabetes-Related Amputations

New Government Study Highlights Improved Management of Risk Factors
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Enhanced foot care and Medicare coverage for therapeutic shoes are two factors behind a recent US government study that showed diabetes-related amputations have declined 65 percent over the past decade.

"It's no coincidence that the decline in foot amputations coincides with the establishment of Medicare coverage for therapeutic shoes – that was precisely the intent of that legislation in 1993," said Dennis Janisse, C.Ped, Director of Scientific Affairs at Orthofeet. "The study findings validate our mission to provide biomechanically designed shoes that offer advanced protection and mobility to improve quality of life among adults with diabetes."

The study, considered the most comprehensive of its kind, was conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and published in the February issue of Diabetes Care. Researchers found foot and leg amputations dropped from 11 to 4 out of every 1,000 adults with diabetes over the period 1996 – 2008. The statistic is even more dramatic considering the number of people with diabetes more than tripled in the same period.

CDC researchers noted several factors behind the decline, including improvements in blood sugar control, diabetes management and foot care. In fact, the researchers noted an increase in the proportion of adults with diabetes who received annual foot exams during the study period.

According to Janisse, clinical studies indicate a correlation between early preventative care and the use of therapeutic footwear in preventing foot ulcers and, consequently, more serious conditions including amputations. He recommends adults with diabetes check their feet daily for warning signs including loss of sensation, sores or any kind of injury.  Janisse also advises they talk with a healthcare provider about the benefits of specialty footwear to minimize injury, protect feet and allow proper blood flow.

"Adults with diabetes will always be at higher risk for nerve damage and foot ulcers than those without the disease," said Janisse. "The message from this landmark study is clear – proactive foot care and protective therapeutic footwear are important components of a comprehensive health, diet and lifestyle plan to help prevent amputations and other complications related to this chronic condition."

For more information visit www.orthofeet.com.