Advancements in Medicine, Patient Outcomes Banner Foot and Ankle Conference
CHICAGO—March 5, 2012 Foot and ankle surgeons from around the globe gathered this week to pave the way for advancing patient outcomes and medicine at the 70th Annual Scientific Conference of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons in San Antonio, Texas.
Conference Highlights and Hot Topics
Advanced Treatments Help Hard-to-Heal Diabetic Foot Ulcers—and Improve Lives
Foot and ankle surgeons are using advanced therapies for foot wounds to help save limbs, restore mobility and improve lives of those living with diabetes who suffer from non-healing foot wounds.
Surgeons, including Peter Blume, DPM, FACFAS, a Yale School of Medicine foot and ankle surgeon, are using plastic surgery grafting techniques that were once reserved for other parts of the body, such as in facial reconstruction. “Grafting involves taking healthy skin from another area of the body and placing it over the ulcer. Added to these grafting techniques are innovative technologies that stimulate healing. These breakthroughs are critical in diabetic foot care because poor circulation, nerve damage, and impaired immune responses—all common in diabetes—make it difficult for a patient’s foot ulcer to heal,” says Blume.
Ankle Replacement Rapidly on the Rise
Arthritic hips and knees are replaced all the time—but did you know that arthritic ankles can also be replaced? In fact, ankle replacements in the U.S. more than doubled last year, thanks in part to technological advances in ankle implants (prostheses).
“In the past, the gold standard for treating these problematic patients was a fusion, or arthrodesis, in which the joint is removed and the bones are fused, thereby taking away the pain but also rendering the ankle immobile,” says Robert Mendicino, DPM, FACFAS, a Fellow member of ACFAS and foot and ankle surgeon from North Carolina.
The treatment of choice is rapidly changing, says Mendicino. Patients are now able to enjoy vastly improved function of their ankle, with pain-free weight bearing and range of motion thanks in part to advancements in FDA-approved ankle replacement implants.
Sprained Ankles Can Be Complicated—and Misdiagnosed
Ankle sprains may be one of the most common injuries, but they’re also commonly misdiagnosed. That’s because the two major types of sprained ankles—high ankle sprains and lateral ankle sprains—often look the same, even though they affect entirely different ligaments. Surgeons are taking a closer look at the treatment of ankle sprains at the Annual Scientific Conference of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons.
“Surgeons agree that misdiagnosis can delay getting the right treatment—and that can impair recovery so it is important to make sure an accurate diagnosis is reached promptly to get patients back on their feet,” says Marque Allen, DPM, FACFAS, foot and ankle surgeon from San Antonio, Texas
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The American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons is a professional society of 6,500 foot and ankle surgeons. Founded in 1942, the College’s mission is to promote research and provide continuing education for the foot and ankle surgical specialty, and to educate the general public on foot health and conditions of the foot and ankle through its consumer website, FootHealthFacts.org.