THURSDAY, March 15 (HealthDay News) -- For patients with diabetic foot ulceration, a new off-loading device that cannot be removed by the patient is less expensive and easier to apply and remove by health care providers than total contact casting, according to study findings published in the March issue of Diabetes Care.
Alberto Piaggesi, M.D., and colleagues from the University of Pisa and Azienda Ospedaliera Pisana in Pisa, Italy, randomly assigned 40 diabetic outpatients with neuropathic plantar ulcers to undergo ulcer debridement followed by either total contact casting or the Optima Diab walker, which is a novel, off-the-shelf device secured by a plastic lace. In both groups, the device was adapted and cushioned according to the patient's condition.
The researchers found that both groups had similar healing rates after 12 weeks, healing times, and number of adverse events. However, the Optima Diab walker was 78 percent less expensive and took less time to apply and remove (77 and 58 percent less, respectively), with higher patient satisfaction compared to the other group.
"The Optima Diab walker is as safe and effective as total contact casting in the management of diabetic foot ulceration, but its lower costs and better applicability may be of help in spreading the practice of off-loading among the centers that manage the diabetic foot," Piaggesi and colleagues conclude.
The device's manufacturer provided funding for the study.