Local News

Podiatrists Looking At New Tool To Help Diabetics

Posted June 12, 2002

— Losing the feeling in your feet is one of the most common complications of diabetes. Eventually, it can lead to amputation. Some podiatrists are using a new tool to diagnose and fix problems early.

Sandy Harper worries her diabetes may be causing the tingling in her toes.

"It's been kind of nerve-racking. You feel like you've been sitting on your feet, but you haven't. They're asleep," Harper said.

Podiatrists are testing a new tool called the peripheral specified sensory device (PSSD). Doctors press a metal prong to the toes and feet, and it sends feedback to the computer, which measures how much pressure it takes before the patient feels sensation.

PSSD is more accurate and precise than previous methods.

"They needed something a little more sophisticated, something that would help us find it a little earlier," podiatrist Dr. Suhad Hadi said.

When caught early, the condition can be fixed. Of the 80 people tested so far at a Texas hospital, 12 needed surgery to free swollen nerves from tissue.

"The nerve actually has room to regenerate, room to move. It's not compressed," Hadi said.

Harper said she is not sure if she will need surgery, but she is thankful for the new technology.

"I want some relief. Find out what the problem is and what they can do to get it taken care of," Harper said.

People with diabetes need to check their feet regularly. If you notice any changes in color or temperature or if there is swelling or ulcers, you need to see your doctor. Besides managing your diabetes, proper footwear and foot care can cut your risk of problems.

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