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Open Access Research

The foot-health of people with diabetes in a regional Australian population: a prospective clinical audit

Byron M Perrin123*, Marcus J Gardner12 and Susan R Kennett4

Author Affiliations

1 La Trobe Rural Health School, La Trobe, University, Bendigo 3552, Australia

2 Outpatient Rehabilitation Services, Bendigo Health, PO Box 126, Bendigo 3552, Australia

3 Musculoskeletal Research Centre, La Trobe University, Bundoora 3086, Australia

4 Bendigo Community Health Services, Bendigo 3552, Australia

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Journal of Foot and Ankle Research 2012, 5:6  doi:10.1186/1757-1146-5-6

Published: 8 March 2012

Abstract

Background

There is limited understanding of the foot-health of people with diabetes in Australian regional areas. The aim of this study was to document the foot-health of people with diabetes who attend publically funded podiatric services in a regional Australian population.

Methods

A three month prospective clinical audit was undertaken by the publically-funded podiatric services of a large regional area of Victoria, Australia. The primary variables of interest were the University of Texas (UT) diabetic foot risk classification of each patient and the incidence of new foot ulceration during the study period. Age, gender, diabetes type, duration of diabetes and the podiatric service the patients attended were the other variables of interest.

Results

Five hundred and seventy six patients were seen during the three month period. Over 49% had a UT risk classification at a level at least peripheral neuropathy or more serious diabetes-related foot morbidity. Higher risk at baseline was associated with longer duration of diabetes (F = 31.7, p < 0.001), male gender (χ2 = 40.3, p < 0.001) and type 1 diabetes (χ2 = 37.3, p < 0.001). A prior history of foot pathology was the overwhelming predictor for incident ulceration during the time period (OR 8.1 (95% CI 3.6 to 18.2), p < 0.001).

Conclusions

The publically funded podiatric services of this large regional area of Australia deal with a disproportionally large number of people with diabetes at high risk of future diabetes-related foot complications. These findings may be useful in ensuring appropriate allocation of resources for future public health services involved in diabetic foot health service delivery in regional areas.

Keywords:
Podiatry; Diabetic Foot; Epidemiology; Rural Health