First I’d like to thank everybody that participated in the survey. As promised, I will now divulge some of the results of the survey. 104 people participated in the survey, 16 did not complete both pages, leaving 88 as the size of the cohort. Over half (54%) of those surveyed have 15+ years of experience. The next significant group (19%) had 5-10 years of experience.
In terms of casting, the use of crush boxes was the most prevalent form of casting for all three patient types (active, non-active, diabetic). The use of crush boxes in partial weight bearing and non-weight bearing accounted for 70% (+/- 5%) of casting methods. Plaster casting in partial and non-weight bearing accumulated 12% (+/- 2%).
The trends in material usage coincide with generally held beliefs that exist in the field. More firm and robust materials were used on more active patients. The top three materials used for active patients (listed in descending order of use) were: semi-rigid plastics, high density and low density foam. Non-active patient materials choices focused on: medium density foams, cork, and low density foams. Patients with diabetes received the most soft and complaint materials: low density foam, medium density foam, and cork. While the non-active group and the diabetic group shared similar material usage options, the distribution varied greatly.
In each of the patient scenarios the modifications most used included: medial arch support, hindfoot post, heel cup, and metatarsal pad. In each scenario, the support of the medial arch was the most selected, with the other three varying in position afterwards. This is most likely due to the vagaries of patient presentation. Without specific details as to the pathologies involved, it becomes difficult to be specific in the treatment.
The area of modifications used and will most likely be the area of future research. As mentioned, there are trends, but there was very little distinction in between groups. This is most likely due to the limitations of the patient scenarios. Some number massaging might be able to reveal some more specifics, but as Mark Twain says: “Lies, damned lies, and statistics”.
Jeremy Farley, CPO/L
Fillauer Companies, Inc
2710 Amnicola Hwy
Chattanooga, TN 37406
800.251.6398 ext 239