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The prevalence of diabetes and its associated manifestations is higher in New Zealand Maori than New Zealand Europeans. There is no current evidence regarding podiatric clinical characteristics of Maori with diabetes. The aim of this study was to determine the clinical and foot characteristics of Maori with diabetes using a podiatry-specific assessment tool.
This study used a cross-sectional design. Participants with diabetes were recruited from two Maori Primary Health Organisations. Podiatric-specific characteristics (vascular, neurological and musculoskeletal) were recorded. Patient demographics and general medical conditions were also recorded.
Fifty-three participants were recruited and displayed risk factors for diabetes-related complications (mean disease duration 12 years, mean HbA1c 8.3%) including 49% of participants with hypertension. Podiatric-specific characteristics revealed unremarkable neurovascular results. However, many participants presented with pre-ulcerative lesions and current pedal ulceration (53% and 8% respectively). Although many participants had good foot-care knowledge (>85%), a modified classification tool of foot risk status determined that a high percentage of participants required regular podiatric management and screening (60%).
Despite this population living with a chronic condition for more than 10 years and displaying poor long-term glycaemic control, there was no evidence of microvascular or macrovascular complications in the lower limb. However, there was a high prevalence of pre-ulcerative lesions which unmonitored and undetected may predispose the foot to ulceration. The detection of current ulceration in this study alongside other risk factors for diabetes-related complications necessitates the need for appropriate podiatric screening and podiatry management.