The Foot and Ankle Clinic of Albuquerque is a center for Lower Extremity Amputation Prevention (LEAP) Services. LEAP Services were developed to help our diabetic patients, and those with vascular and other limb threatening disease, find the information they need to improve their quality of life. In addition to education, we also provide treatments and services in diabetic foot care, foot health, and amputation prevention. LEAP Services can dramatically reduce lower extremity amputation in individuals with Peripheral Vascular Disease, Diabetes, and other conditions that result in nerve damage or diminished loss of feeling in the feet.
Our Preventive Services
Annual Foot Screening
We believe that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. We strongly recommend foot screening for individuals who have:
* Immuno-compromised disorders
* Nerve damage or loss of sensation to feet
* Poor circulation
Sometimes the smallest of injuries, such as a blister or callus, can result in infection, hospitalization and worse. Even normal walking can result in such injuries. That is why we encourage those who are at risk to be evaluated regularly and especially when new problems occur. Annual foot screenings for at-risk patients is an important decision on the road to prevention. However, those who are at high risk and have had complications in the past may be encouraged to be seen by the doctor more frequently.
This allows our doctor to check their feet and shoes to identify concerns that can prove catastrophic if left unchecked. It is always a good idea to bring in shoes and commonly used footwear for evaluation during appointments.
Teaching the patient self-management skills is the second component of the prevention mentality. Once these skills are well understood, the patient assumes personal responsibility and becomes a full partner with our health care team in preventing lower extremity amputation.
Daily Foot Inspection
Daily foot inspection the third component of the prevention mentality and is an integral part of our LEAP Services’ self-management program.
We recommend that every individual who has lost sensation to their extremities to examine their feet regularly and thoroughly daily.
Studies have shown that daily foot inspection is the single most effective way to protect at-risk feet from complications that can result in lower extremity amputation.
If detected, conditions that should be reported in a timely manner include:
* Pressure ulcers
* Changes in calluses or new calluses
* Toenail problems (e.g ingrown, thick, tender, long, or fungal)
* Any sudden change in color, temperature or appearance of the foot.
We highly recommend contacting our office if you notice any problems concerning your feet, skin, or toenails. Depending on the urgency, you can often be seen on the same day or within a few days. We can use Telemedicine or in-office evaluation to ensure that your feet receive its best care.
Appropriate shoe selection is the fourth component of the Albuquerque LEAP mentality. Shoes, like feet, come in a variety of styles, shapes, and sizes.
A person with normal sensation in their feet can wear almost any shoe style with little risk of injury. If the patient has lost protective sensation, poorly designed or improperly fitting shoes can seriously injure the foot resulting in blistering, laceration, or pressure ulceration.
Once a patient has lost protective sensation, they should never walk barefoot, even around the house. We strongly recommend that these individuals avoid wearing narrow toe shoes or boots, heeled shoes, shoes with vinyl tops, thongs or any shoe that is too loose or too tight.
Our team is invaluable in providing special assistance shoe selection to maximize style and fitting. The shoe should fit the shape of the foot. There should be at least ½ inch between the longest toe and the end of the shoe.
Management of Simple Foot Problems
Certain foot deformities can result from peripheral neuropathy due to dysfunction of nerves that provide the necessary working balance of the tendons, joints, and ligaments. These deformities may result in pressure ulceration, which if left unchecked can result in infection and, ultimately, lower extremity amputation. It is not at all uncommon for our doctor to perform surgery to correct the underlying foot deformity in an effort to prevent devastating foot ulceration.
In addition, peripheral neuropathy can also affect the autonomic nerves in the foot. And this can lead to dry cracked skin, increasing the probability of non-healing wounds. These wounds may result in infection and lower extremity amputation if left unsupervised.
Peripheral Arterial Disease Screening
The sixth and final component of the Albuquerque LEAP mentality is Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) screening. PAD is a narrowing of artery or blood vessel The blood vessels narrow due to plaque buildup or “hardening of arteries” causing decreased blood flow and oxygen to the lower limbs. If blockages form they can cause changes in your feet and legs. Patients with PAD experience pain and aching in their legs, especially with activity. Common symptoms seen in patients with PAD are leg cramps (also known as Claudication) which is increased by walking and relieved with rest, slow healing wounds, cold or cool temperature to the legs and feet, discolored nails, and somewhat of a shiny skin appearance. Certain factors can increase one’s risk of getting PAD such as smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and greater than 60 years of age. A family history of vascular disease or stroke can also increase the risk of PAD. It is important to be aware of the common symptoms and risks because reduced blood flow to the foot or leg increases the risk of gangrene and lower limb amputation. Early diagnosis and treatment is the first step to preventing life-threatening
complications or limb loss. We strongly recommend peripheral blood flow testing on all at-risk individuals:
- Men and women ages 65 years and older
- Patients 50 years or older with a history of diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or smoking
- Patients with previous history of amputation or major limb threatening infection, regardless of age
PAD is diagnosed through a history and physical exam, as well as non-invasive vascular testing. The Foot and Ankle Clinic of Albuquerque, P.C. uses PADnet® by Biomedix® for our PAD screening.
Talk With the Doctor
Same Day Appointments are Available.
717 Encino Pl. NE #3 Albuquerque, NM 87102
Are You a New Patient?
Please fill out the New Patient paperwork (download link below) and bring it with you to your first appointment. On it you will find placed to include: