Today's podiatrists stay a step ahead with 3-D printing, balance sensors, smart
BETHESDA, Md., November 5, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- During Diabetes
Awareness Month this November, the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA)
highlights podiatrists across the country who are developing and using high-tech
tools to better monitor and address issues commonly faced by their patients with
Of the more than 26 million people in the US with diabetes, about half will
develop neuropathy, a loss of feeling in the lower extremities. This nerve
damage means an open sore or injury on the foot may go unnoticed until it
becomes infected, which can eventually lead to the need for partial or full
amputation of the foot or lower leg.
David G. Armstrong, DPM, MD, PhD, and founder of the Southern Arizona Limb
Salvage Alliance (SALSA), is working with a team of researchers to incorporate
smart textiles into his treatment of diabetes patients. Fiber optic sensors in a
special pair of socks can identify "hot spots" (high temperature areas on a
patient's foot can pinpoint where tissue is beginning to break down), high
pressure points, and areas of strain around joints.
"This is game-changing," Armstrong said. "These smart textiles allow us to
evaluate the individual needs of each patient and more effectively monitor and
manage their foot health." SALSA is one of three partners that received more
than $2 million in research grants to do a three-year study on these "smart
Armstrong's colleague Nicholas Giovinco, DPM, uses 3-D printing to transform
X-ray images into physical models of the complex skeletal structure of the foot
and ankle. This hands-on approach allows the SALSA team to assess deformities or
any challenges to surgical intervention.
SALSA biomedical engineer Bijan Najafi, PhD, works with a smart sensor attached
to the chest that tracks a diabetes patient's heart rate, respiration, and level
of activity in real-time. The device can alert podiatrists via smartphone if
their patient is experiencing high levels of stress, which can affect wound
healing. Special insoles can ping a patient's smartphone or send a text message
to alert them if, say, a small pebble has found its way into their shoe--a minor
annoyance for most of us, but for someone suffering from neuropathy, a
significant threat that could result in the loss of a limb.
During Diabetes Awareness Month, APMA encourages diabetes patients and those at
risk for developing the disease to take a step in the right direction by having
their feet checked by a podiatrist.
Visit www.apma.org/diabetes to view a video featuring more cutting-edge
technologies, download fact sheets and infographics, learn your risk for
diabetes, and find a podiatrist near you.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Images and video footage are available to members of the media
Contact Brielle Day, firstname.lastname@example.org
The American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) is the nation's leading
professional organization for today's podiatrists. Doctors of Podiatric Medicine
(DPMs) are qualified by their education, training, and experience to diagnose
and treat conditions affecting the foot, ankle, and structures of the leg. APMA
has 53 state component locations across the United States and its territories,
with a membership of more than 12,000 podiatrists. All practicing APMA members
are licensed by the state in which they practice podiatric medicine. For more
information, visit www.apma.org.
SOURCE American Podiatric Medical Association