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Patient-Friendly “Smart” Mat Identifies Early Signs of Foot Ulcers

By: Dr. Felix Sigal Tags: Foot Ulcer Foot Ulcer Development Podiatry Care Podiatry Care Los Angeles

Doctor Treating Diabetic Foot Ulcer

A new home monitoring device could help those at risk for diabetic foot ulcers identify early warning signs that may help them get care faster, according to a multicenter study presented at a recent meeting of the American Diabetes Association. The automated device uses a special internet-connected “smart” mat designed to evaluate foot temperature in real time, identifying areas of temperature differences associated with the development of foot ulcers.

High Patient Compliance

The study tested the mat in a group of 129 diabetic patients at high risk for diabetic foot ulcers and reported the patients found the device very easy to use, increasing the likelihood they’ll use the mat on a regular basis, the researchers noted. Once the mat is activated, it measures foot temperature in six different areas, then sends the data via the internet to a central monitoring serve where it can be evaluated. The mat is designed to trigger an “alert” when it registers a difference of 2.2°C or greater occurring on two successive days. The alert is transmitted directly to the patient or doctor so follow-up can be performed.

Variations in foot temperature – specifically, temperatures in the plantar portion or sole of the foot – are routinely used in helping to assess the risk for foot ulcer development, but the researchers say this is the first study to evaluate a “smart” mat in helping patients perform self-assessments at home. The study authors noted previous clinical studies have found recurrent diabetic foot ulcers are reduced an average of 70 percent when temperature evaluations are used, leading many experts to suggest routine temperature assessments be included in self-care guidelines for diabetic patients at risk for foot ulcers.

During this study, patients used the mat once each day to measure differences in foot temperature between the left and right feet. When analyzing the data, the researchers said the mat was able to predict non-acute diabetic foot ulcers about five weeks prior to their development. Nearly 90 percent of patients used the mat at least three days per week during the study, demonstrating a high level of compliance, the study noted.

Leading Podiatry Care in Los Angeles

In the U.S., about 80,000 lower extremity amputations occur each year as a result of foot ulcers, and having regular foot exams is essential for identifying subtle changes that can indicate the development of an ulcer. As a top-ranked podiatrist in Los Angeles and Southern California, Dr. Felix Sigal offers a broad array of safe, state-of-the-art solutions to help people with diabetes maintain healthy feet and decrease their risk of foot ulcers and amputations. The Foot & Ankle Clinic is an active clinical trial center, enabling patients to have access to the most innovative treatments as early as possible. To find out more about current trials or to schedule an appointment, call the Foot & Ankle Clinic at (213) 365-0793 today.


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