Wound Center Helps Patients Back On Their Feet

(Batesville, Ark.)--While 15 percent doesn’t seem like a large number, in the world of diabetes, that percentage translates to 2.4 million. According to the American Podiatric Medical Association, that’s the number of people in America who suffer from diabetic foot ulcers. These foot wounds, even with the best treatment, can still lead to serious complications and be very costly. A casting product by Derma Sciences, Inc., called the TCC-EZ Total Contact Cast, was developed to reduce the number of complications associated with foot wounds and aid in quick healing. The White River Medical Center (WRMC) Wound Healing Center recently adopted the TCC-EZ Total Contact Casting method, which has shown to be very beneficial to its patients.

“Our patients with TCC-EZ total contact casts love them,” said Dr. Craig Pickren, Wound Care Medical Director at the WRMC Wound Healing Center. “The cast doesn’t require the use of crutches and it relieves pain, which allows our patients to remain completely mobile and continue their daily living activities.”

Studies show that a major factor affecting the healing rate of diabetic foot ulcers is the amount of pressure put on the wound. Putting pressure on a foot ulcer can delay the overall healing time of the ulcer, and can lead to more difficulties. The total contact cast transfers more weight to the leg, which relieves pressure on the foot wound, allowing it to heal properly.

Wound Healing patient, Larry Roberson of Pleasant Plains has Type 2 Diabetes, which has caused him to develop a nerve disease called neuropathy. Often associated with diabetes, neuropathy causes the loss of feeling in the hands or feet. Due to the loss of feeling, neuropathy increases the chances of developing serious wounds, which is the case with Roberson. With a history of diabetic foot wounds, Roberson has used both the current and former casting systems and says he is most pleased with the total contact cast.

“The new cast is lighter, more durable, and more breathable than the old method,” said Roberson. “Overall, the new total contact cast just seems like the better option.”

The one-piece, roll-on, woven design of the TCC-EZ simplifies the casting process and can be applied quicker than the fiberglass and plaster alternatives. While the cast has to be changed weekly, it generally takes just minutes to do.

“The old casts had to be custom fitted to each patient. The new ones, however, are prefabricated and are very quick to put on,” said Pickren. “The time it takes to set a cast is cut in half, which is better for the patients, and us as well.”

Wound Healing Center nurses Alida Mohlke, RN, CWCA and Erica Caraway, RN were the first to receive the training to apply the casts. Now, all Wound Healing nurses have the proper training to put the casts on patients.

An additional benefit to the cast is the cost to patients. On average, this method of casting is half the cost of treatment in which the total contact cast was not used, according to a recent study.

“TCC-EZ Total Contact Casting has become the gold standard in diabetic wound care and is rapidly becoming the standard,” said Pickren. “Our healing rate with this cast is higher than the national average.”

Pickren also says the WRMC Wound Healing Center is the only clinic in the area using the total contact casting method.

The Wound Healing Center is located inside White River Medical Center and is open Monday-Thursday 8-4 and Friday 8-5. The Wound Healing Center also sees patients at the WRMC Medical Complex in Cherokee Village and Stone County Medical Center in Mountain View in an effort to provide care to those customers who live in the outlying areas.