Fresh from the long weekend we welcome Ms Lauretta Zikalala to our podiatry practice. Lauretta is our new receptionist and will be the voice of the practice from today. Back at the practice today, (not exactly fresh!) after a tiring but stimulating weekend at the Diabetic Foot Working Group (DFWG) Congress. Armed with some new knowledge and revision of existing, Tshidi and I feel that we have more to offer our patients with diabetes.
We know that Podiatry and diabetes is not just about managing the serious complications such as foot ulcers. The key issue is the prevention of this complication and research shows that multidisciplinary interventions can reduce both ulcers and amputations. There is a major challenge in South African health care to educate everybody involved in diabetes about the need for proper foot health care.
Just to get patients and professionals to look at feet could prevent many complications. So many patients do not feel pain and are therefore misled into thinking that there is nothing wrong with their feet. Meanwhile they develop blisters from footwear, ulcers from objects like drawing pins, stones and other foreign bodies and burns and scalds from heaters or hot water. It is clear that we will have to develop innovative and cost effective interventions to reduce the numbers of amputations and to improve foot health awareness in South Africa.
For any health professionals reading this; do you know what an angiosome is? I’ll publish some references tomorrow. (I think you will be amazed). For the lay person, angiosomes allow vascular specialists and podiatrists, in the context of patient examination, to accurately assess the quality of blood flow to every part of the lower limbs and feet. This enables really accurate identification of those areas at risk due to inadequate blood supply. Most of us are familiar with the dermatomes which map out the nerve supply, but angisomes are something new. (Well they are to me!).