Providing Better Mobility For Diabetes Patients
- Volume 16 - Issue 3 - March 2003
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When diabetic patients have lower extremity injuries, they may have trouble weightbearing and getting around can prove difficult. Not only do you want to promote healing, you also want to enhance patient mobility. You may recommend traditional casting braces or something tailored specifically for your diabetic patient. One such option is the Pneumatic Walker Diabetic System.
Aircast, the manufacturer of the device, offers two other walking braces, the Pneumatic Walker and the Foam Walker, which provide pneumatic and semi-pneumatic support respectively. However, the Pneumatic Walker Diabetic System caters solely to the mobility of the diabetic patient versus other braces that may not address the special needs of people with diabetes.
According to the company, the Pneumatic Walker Diabetic System provides foam filled aircells to cushion the ankle for customized support. Aircast also points out that the strap outside of the foot creates more room to eliminate pressure points, which is effective for patients with diabetes. The company emphasizes that the device helps ensure minimal pressure on the foot yet it provides the support that is necessary for managing edema and facilitating the healing of a fracture.
Assessing Key Advantages To The Walker
Aircast believes the Pneumatic Walker Diabetic System offers substantial advantages over competing walkers due to its offloading capabilities. One Aircast representative notes conventional walkers don’t provide good and effective offloading. The company says a key difference with the Pneumatic Walker Diabetic System is in the aircells that continue up the length of the lower leg.
These aircells provide minimal pressure on the foot and allow for a snug and comfortable fit, according to Aircast. It notes that the aircell inflation is regulated by hand bulb pressure gauge so your patients can control the amount of air they want in the walker. The multi-aircell support allows for graduated, pulsating compression.
The insole of the device contains a soft material that places minimal pressure on the foot. This minimal pressure promotes healing. Aircast says it is looking to improve the current insole even further in the future.
In addition to reducing pressure and allowing for a soft surface surrounding the foot, the walker consists of a lightweight design that is flexible around the calf for strength, fit and comfort. Aircast notes that these benefits allow diabetic patients to comfortably move around in the brace while maintaining a natural gait.
If your patients are worried about the walker containing latex, you can reassure them that Aircast products are latex-free.
What About Coverage Concerns?
Aircast says the device is covered by Medicare and requires a physician referral. The brace costs $136 and that includes the boot, the insoles and three pairs of socks, according to the company. Men and women’s sizes are available in medium, large and extra large. The company offers replacement parts at no cost and carries warranties on all of its products.