Advanced Offloading Techniques to Minimize Pressure on Your Foot

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Advanced Offloading Techniques to Minimize Pressure on Your Foot

Take a look down at your feet and appreciate just how much these relatively small appendages do in terms of supporting your entire body weight while getting you to where you need to go. Unfortunately, these hard-working areas of your body are in the direct line of fire when you have diabetes.

For the more than 38 million Americans who have diabetes, the threat of foot ulcers looms large — your lifetime risk for developing a diabetic foot ulcer is between 19% and 34%. More concerning still is that limb-threatening infections develop in more than half of these ulcers.

If you’ve developed a foot wound, the primary goal is to encourage healing and discourage dangerous infection, which is where Dr. Thomas Rambacher and the team here at 

Foot Ankle Leg Wound Care Orange County excel. As part of our comprehensive wound care services, we often turn to offloading to create a better environment for your foot to heal.

In the following, we look at some of the ways in which we take a literal load off your problematic foot.

The goal of offloading

We started this blog noting the incredible workload that your feet are under, and it’s this workload we’re trying to reduce when you have a slow-healing foot or ankle wound.

When we refer to offloading, we’re referring to decreasing or eliminating the mechanical stresses on your feet that interfere with your wound’s ability to heal. Each step you take causes tissues to stretch and pull, and these ongoing stresses can impede healing, especially when the natural flow of healing resources to your feet is already greatly compromised, thanks to poor circulation and peripheral neuropathy.

Through offloading, our goal is to relieve these stresses and create a very quiet and stable environment that allows your wound to heal.

How we take the pressure off your foot ulcer

When you have a foot ulcer, we first monitor the pressure, as well as the heat, on the underside of your foot to determine what degree of offloading would be best. 

There are different techniques we use for offloading, including:

Diabetic healing shoes or inserts

For early-stage ulcers, we might try specialized footwear that holds your feet in position and redistributes the pressure away from the ulcer. Whether we use therapeutic shoes or specialized offloading insoles, this option offers more freedom of movement.

Total contact casts and nonremovable walkers

These devices provide little to no wiggle room inside as they hold your lower leg firmly in place. Not only do total contact casts and walkers prevent movement, they also spread the plantar pressure out and away from the ulcer.

There are also removable forms of these offloading devices.

Crutches or wheelchair

Depending upon your circumstances, using crutches for a time to keep weight bearing to a minimum or using a wheelchair may be a good option.

When choosing which option is right for you, we consider several things, such as the seriousness of the wound, your lifestyle, and your budget.

If you’d like to learn more about offloading and how it can help preserve your lower limbs by encouraging wound healing, we invite you to call our office in Mission Viejo, California, at 949-832-6018 or request an appointment online today.