The rate of diabetic foot amputations is high in India, which has around 30 million diabetics. With proper footcare, the number of these surgeries can be considerably reduced.
An ordinary running shoe is sufficient for most diabetic patients, but special footwear is required for patients who suffer foot deformities.
The Diabetes Research Centre at the MV Hospital has tied up with the Harvard Medical School, Boston, U.S., for a research to design footwear. It is for diabetic patients who face a risk of foot amputation.
The two institutions have already shared information on diabetic foot complications, its treatment and prevention. This has benefited around 900 medics and paramedics since 2003. With two workshops already held, the third is under way.
David Campbell, vascular surgeon and associate clinical professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School heads the faculty team for the current workshop.
He says, 'But even as we explore newer footwear technologies it is important not to lose focus of the larger obligation of prevention through education among physicians and patients.'
Dr.Campbell has played a vital role in sensitizing doctors and patients in the U.S. on diabetes management and its complications. He was also instrumental in finding the Harvard Vietnam Medical Education Program in Ho Chi Minh City. It is worth noting that diabetes-related amputation rates have dropped since the programme began in 2000.
Vijay Viswanathan, joint director of MV Hospital, believes that an increase in awareness and affordability among diabetics would determine the demand and use of protective footwear.
The Indo-U.S workshops on diabetic foot care also aim to encourage diabetologists to establish diabetic foot care clinics.