Healthcare Insider Blog

New study to help doctors of physical therapy treat patients with diabetes

  • Healthcare Alvernia

According to a CDC report, there were an estimated 29.1 million Americans in 2012 living with diabetes, with that number recorded to increase by 1.7 million each year. There are also 86 million Americans age 20 and older thought to be prediabetic.

Doctors of physical therapy (DPT) routinely care for individuals who have experienced limb amputation and musculoskeletal pain, both of which can be a result of diabetes.

More specifically, these can be results of another side effect of diabetes: skin ulcers. Due to diabetic neuropathies and damaged nerve endings and loss of sensation, 25% of those with diabetes suffer from skin ulcers, particularly on the feet.

In a recent study conducted at the University of Sheffield and University of Bristol, scientists have discovered that the healing process for skin ulcers and bedsores can be reduced to one-third with the use of low-intensity ultrasound, without the risk of side effects that are often associated with drug treatments.

This new practice, which researchers expect to see being implemented within three or four years, could be ground breaking for physical therapists treating patients with diabetes. It will allow DPTs to speed up the skin healing process and reduce the risk of amputation.

At Alvernia, we want those in our Doctor of Physical Therapy program to be well prepared and equipped to deal with the wide range of patients they will encounter throughout their career, including those with diabetes. By understanding new strategies for preventing the negative sequelae of this challenging condition, DPTs can play an important role in optimizing health for their diabetic patients.

Effective November 12, 2014, Alvernia University has been granted Candidate for Accreditation status by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, VA, 22314; phone: 703-706-3245; email: accreditation@apta.org). Candidacy is not an accreditation status nor does it assure eventual accreditation. Candidate for Accreditation is a pre-accreditation status of affiliation with the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education that indicates the program is progressing toward accreditation.

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