OCH Orthopedics has now entered into a partnership with authorized podiatrist Britt Tollefsen, who specializes in diabetes.
Text: Bjørnhild Fjeld - Photo: Tore Fjeld
Up to 500 amputations are carried out annually due to diabetic foot ulcers. Many of these amputations could have been avoided with good, preventive foot care.
- Diabetic foot ulcers are one of the biggest complications associated with having diabetes. In the worst case, this can lead to amputation, which is a large social economic cost, in addition to the human burden, says Britt Tollefsen, who has recently started clinic services as a podiatrist in OCH Ortopedia's premises in Helsfyr.
Clinic manager Lise Sundby Nybo at OCH Orthopedics in Helsfyr believes that getting a podiatrist will mean that patients with diabetes get an even better offer:
- We at OCH want to take care of the needs of diabetics locally in the department, preferably in connection with the adaptation of footbeds and orthopedic footwear by the orthopedic engineers, she says.
Important preventive measure
People with diabetes often have reduced sensitivity in their feet, and will not discover for themselves whether they are at risk of developing ulcers.
- By coming to a simple examination by a podiatrist once a year, you can easily discover whether the patient is at risk of getting foot ulcers, explains Britt Tollefsen.
People with diabetes must have an annual check-up with their GP, but less than half of patients with type 2 diabetes get, or take, this check-up. Patients with type 1 are followed up in hospital and are checked to a greater extent there. Efforts are being made by both the Diabetes and Podiatrist Association so that podiatrists can carry out the annual check-up, as this is a competence that a podiatrist with diabetes specialization possesses.
- Many people are not aware of how important it is, while for others, unfortunately, finances probably play a role. The Podiatry Association is working to make it free for diabetes patients to have one annual podiatrist examination every year.
If it turns out that you have a high risk of developing foot ulcers, you should be examined by a podiatrist regularly, every 6-8 weeks.
- Is there anything you can do yourself to avoid getting into the danger zone?
- Examine your feet yourself with the help of a mirror that you place on the floor, then it is easier to see if there are ulcers that are developing. It is also important to shake the shoes before putting them on. A small stone in the shoe can, in the worst case, cause a wound that can lead to major problems, says Britt.
Collaboration with orthopedic engineers
If it turns out that you have an increased risk of foot ulcers, pressure relief is an important measure. This can be solved with the help of orthopedic footbeds and special shoes.
- I am looking forward to working with OCH Ortopedia's orthopedic engineers, and think it is exciting to be allowed to work in a professional environment like this, says the podiatrist.
With premises in the same building, OCH will be able to recommend that patients go to the podiatrist - and vice versa.
To work as a podiatrist, you must have authorization from the Directorate of Health.
- Many people confuse podiatrists with podiatrists. A podiatrist primarily works with aesthetics, such as filing nails, while podiatrists are health professionals who have training in the muscles, bones and skin of the feet, explains Britt.