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LEAP May Help Save Your Limbs

Tuesday, 08 February 2022 00:00

When the feet suffer loss of protective sensation due to nerve damage from diseases such as diabetes, peripheral neuropathy or Hansen’s disease, injuries can go undetected. These can worsen and develop into wounds that do not heal. Chronic wounds that do not heal (ulcers) can become infected and pose serious health risks, including amputation in severe cases. Individuals with a loss of protective sensation can reduce these risks by practicing the five steps in lower extremity amputation preventions (LEAP). Step 1: At-risk patients should have their feet screened four times a year. Step 2: Patients should be educated on self-management techniques to become an active participant in preventing foot problems. Step 3: At-risk patients should examine their feet daily to detect any foot injuries or toenail problems. Step 4: Shoes should be fitted properly to the foot with ample room to prevent most foot problems from occurring. Step 5: Reporting any injuries or wounds to a podiatrist immediately is strongly suggested.  

Limb salvage can be an effective way in preventing the need for limb amputation. If you have diabetes, cancer, or any other condition that could lead to foot amputation if left unchecked, consult with Chukwuma Ukata, DPM from Advanced Carolina Foot and Ankle Center. Our doctor will assess your condition and provide you with quality foot and ankle treatment.

What Is Limb Salvage?

Limb salvage is the attempt of saving a limb, such as the foot from amputation. Podiatrists also try to make sure that there is enough function in the foot after the salvage that it is still usable. Diabetes is the number one cause of non-traumatic amputations in the United States. Those with diabetes experience poor blood circulation, which prevents proper healing of an ulcer. If the ulcer is left uncheck, it could become infected, which could result in the need for amputation.

However, there are other causes as well, such as cancer and traumatic injury. Links between higher mortality rates and amputation have been found. This translates into higher healthcare costs, and a reduced quality of life and mobility for amputees. Podiatrists have attempted to increase the prevalence of limb salvage in an attempt to solve these issues.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Limb salvage teams have grown in recent years that utilize a number of different treatments to save the infected limb. This includes podiatrists that specialize in wound care, rehabilitation, orthotics, and surgery. Through a combination of these methods, limb salvage has been found to be an effective treatment for infected limbs, and as an alternative to amputation. Podiatrists will first evaluate the potential for limb salvage and determine if the limb can be saved or must be amputated. 

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our office located in Garner, NC . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

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