It’s gory, sticky and undoubtedly on the nose, but a blend of icing sugar, chicken stock and flexible resin is proving to be the just the right recipe for creating realistic foot ulcers as part of a world first podiatric training initiative at the University of South Australia. Concoct by UniSA’s Dr Helen Banwell and Dr Ryan Causby the gooey mixture is being add to newly print 3 dimensional feet and is designe to mimic infect and non-infect diabetic foot wounds.
3D printers are famous for their abilities to create customize models and rapid prototyping. Having a digital model of your feet will kick-start your custom fit projects or applications. For example, you can make slippers, in-soles, and high heels which only fit in “your size”.
The 3D print feet are create with wound-like cavities in place. Made from thermoplastic polyurethane (a plastic with many properties, including elasticity, transparency, and resistance to oil, grease and abrasion). So each takes a week to print, and costs less than $4 to produce. The addition of life-like ulcers and effects is add by the creative hands of UniSA’s podiatry team; so can encompass anything from dry gangrene to oozing pus.
Dr Banwell says the 3D foot models will play an important part in teaching fourth-year podiatry students about how treat and manage high-risk foot conditions. Managing and adeptly treating severe foot conditions is an essential podiatric skill; so particularly given the consistent rise in type 2 diabetes within there population, Dr Banwell says.
Foot care is incredibly important for people with diabetes, as even one small cut can potentially lead to catastrophic consequences; including foot ulcers, lower limb wounds or amputations. Diabetic foot disease is one of the leading causes of disability across the world with a mortality rate worse than many cancers. Diabetic Foot Australia estimates that on any given day 300,000 people are at risk of developing diabetic foot disease.
Lower limbs amputation rates
In Australia, diabetes causes more than 4400 amputations, and 10,000 hospital admissions for diabetes-relate foot ulcers; so many of which end with a limb or part of a limb amputated. Over the past two decades we’ve seen a 30 per cent increase in lower limbs amputation rates,” Dr Banwell says. About 85 per cent of these are precede by a foot ulcer and could be prevent with appropriate care.
But learning the necessary scalpel skills to do this is challenging due to the risks of ‘practicing’ on a such a high-risk population. The 3D foot models and the mock injuries with which they enhance them enable us to provide a realistic but safe learning tool for students to practice their scalpel skills; so before they begin clinical placements, and all without the stress or anxiety of treating a real patient.”
To support the training, ulcer debridement and management videos; which are develop in partnership with the via the NADC accredit high-risk foot clinic at the Royal Adelaide Hospital. New technologies are opening doors every day,” Dr Banwell says. There 3D injury-enhance foot models are a meeting of creative minds and new technologies; so they’re very please with the result. When the students encounter the models, they know they’ll be pleasantly (or perhaps unpleasantly) surprised.