All You Need To Know About Podiatry Burs
Podiatry Burs (or Podiatry Burrs as they’re also known as) are an indispensable tool used by Podiatrists to treat a wide range of conditions. They help Podiatrists to achieve the highest level of customer satisfaction by reducing total treatment time, and enhancing the finish achieved in their clinic.
Podiatrists commonly go the extra mile to make their clinical environment an enjoyable experience for their clients; however the minor details such as the choice of bur can be easily forgotten.
There are an ever-growing number of styles of Podiatry burrs available; from pear shaped diamond burrs to barrel shaped ceramic burs. Unfortunately they are an untapped source of improvement in many clinics – If you’re reading this, you’re well on your way to maximising your clinic!
In order for a Podiatrist to provide the highest level of treatment to their client’s, they need to use the best tools available. But how do you know which tools, or Podiatry Burs, are the best?
Read on to find out!
What Is A Podiatry Bur Anyway?
A Podiatry bur is an abrasive rotary tool commonly used by Podiatrists to debride excess nail or skin from the feet of their clients.
There are a wide range of abrasion levels (coarseness of the bur), abrasion compositions (diamond, carbide, etc) and shapes (pear, bud, cylinder, etc.) of Podiatry burs on the market. By knowing the ins and outs of the different burs available, combined with the knowledge of your client base, you’ll be able to select the best bur style or styles for your clinic.
By selecting the best Podiatry burs for you clinic, you will be able to treat in the most effective, precise and efficient manner possible. This results in an increased client satisfaction, increased clinical efficiency and increased morale in your clinic.
What Determines the Quality of a Podiatry Bur?
The degree of precision and care taken when manufacturing a burr largely dictates the quality of the finished product but the quality of the components also plays a major role in the performance of the bur.
Poor manufacturing techniques result in burs which do not maintain their ‘edge’ or cutting power for an extended lifetime.
The abrasive components can be poorly adhered to the head of the bur, causing them to quickly become dislodged.
Another common issue is the variation and imprecise width of the shaft. The variation in with means that the shaft is not ‘gripped’ by the drill handpiece along the full length of the bur, increasing the likelihood of slippage and increasing wear and tear on the drill itself.
Bur Component Effects
The durability of Podiatry burrs is heavily affected by the quality of the material used in the manufacture. Poor quality shaft and head materials will degrade at a rapid pace when subjected to sterilisation procedures required for sanitary re-use. This becomes obvious if a ‘single use’ burr is subjected to this process (note. Do not re-use single use burrs!). All of Podiatry Burs Australia’s burs are designed to last the test of time and perform again and again in your clinic.
The precision of the edges in ‘cross-cut’, or ‘cutter’ style burs can be quickly diminished if the angles used are not perfect or the durability of the composition of the material used in the head of the bur is not up to scratch.
What Types of Podiatry Burs Are Available?
The most commonly used Podiatry Bur is the basic diamond bur, usually in a ‘Bud’ or ‘Pear’ shape. They’re often the bur that is first used when a student is training to be a Podiatrist due to its relatively forgiving nature.
Diamond burs are composed of a head bonded with Diamond grit particles on a stainless steel shaft.
This ‘forgiving’ nature of diamond burs stems from the ‘fine’ abrasion level of the diamond dust adhered to the head of the bur. They create a wonderfully smooth finish and are an excellent bur choice for run-of –the-mill clinical cases.
A word of caution: The fine abrasion level produces a fine, harmful nail dust. The finer the particles are that are produced when burring, the longer they will remain suspended in the air. This can easily be avoided through the use of a vacuum drill, which removes the harmful nail aerosol before it can become harmful.
Another option is a Spray drill, which uses water to neutralize the dust particles before they can become airborne. An additional benefit is that the water has a cooling effect, increasing the comfort level of the client throughout treatment.
Regardless of the drill style that you decide to use, always ensure that you are wearing the appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to minimise the potential harm.
Ceramic Podiatry Burs
Ceramic podiatry burs are one of the latest developments in bur technology. Ceramic is a lighter material relative to other materials commonly used in the head of burs. This means the ability to control the bur throughout treatment is improved.
Ceramic also has a relatively lower heat capacity relative to the other commonly used head materials. This allows Podiatrists to bur for extended periods of time before heat accumulation begins to cause client discomfort.
Another benefit of ceramic burs is that they’re resistant to ‘clogging’ and blockages caused by nail polish or nail debris, making cleaning a breeze.
They’re extremely strong and durable due to the molecular structure of the ceramic (Zirconium dioxide) following a process known as ‘transformation toughening’. This significantly extends the reliability and lifetime of products made with stabilized zirconia, such as our ceramic Podiatry burs.
The ‘cross-cut’ utilised on the head of our ceramic burs creates dust particles which are larger and, therefore, safer as they are less prone to remaining suspended in the air. A balance has been achieved between abrasive efficiency and finishing capability, making ceramic burs the bur of choice for many Podiatrists.
Tungsten Podiatry Burs
Tungsten Podiatry burs are usually the first step taken by Podiatrists away from the basic diamond bur. They offer a large increase in burring efficiency in the hands of an experienced Podiatrist. With greater burring efficiency, comes greater risk of breaching the skin in the event of a slip, so ensure that you’re well versed in the art of burring before exploring increasingly abrasive burrs.
They’re composed of a Tungsten Carbide head with a stainless steel shaft, creating a tough dynamic bur which can serve a clinic well for years – they’re extremely durable.
Similar to ceramic burs, the increased cutting power results in larger particles of nail dust, reducing their level of harm. The tungsten burs available from Podiatry Burs Australia have been delicately balanced to provide a level of abrasion that is efficient and results in a smooth, desirable finish.
Carbide Cutter Burs
As the name suggests, carbide cutters are designed to debride extremely efficiently. They are the bur that a Podiatrist wants when faced with a large burring requirement.
They are comprised of a stainless steel shaft fitted with a carbide head, resulting in an extremely durable bur designed to perform for an extended time in the Podiatry clinic.
Due to their exceptional abrasive capabilities, these burs should be used with caution. Occasionally, the nail will require finishing with a finer style of bur to prevent an unsmooth finish of the surface which is burred.
The level of heat accumulated is similar to that of a tungsten bur – this should be managed.
Carbide cutter burs are an extremely efficient style of bur in the hands of an experienced Podiatrist.
What Shapes of Podiatry Burs are Available?
There are a wide range of different shapes and sizes of burs available, and the range just keeps growing! With this in mind, there is a bur shape out there that is perfect for any case you may experience in your clinic.
So which bur shapes are best?
Well, it depends.
Cone or Tapered Burrs
Cone or tapered shaped burrs such as our Bullet or Bud shaped burr allows Podiatrists to excel in a wide range of presentations.
The wide external surface area allows bulk burring to be completed at an efficient pace (rate will be dependent on the composition and coarseness), while the more precise tapered tip allows delicate and confined areas of the nail to be targeted.
Ball, Enucleator or Accurate Burrs
These burr shapes have increasingly niched uses – mainly centered on reaching the more delicate areas around the sulci.
Although they are designed for extreme accuracy, there are a surprising amount of cases encountered that may be treated more effectively within the clinic.
Sulci Cleaner Burrs
Sulci cleaner burrs are designed to allow Podiatrists to achieve a complete and desirable finish to the nail. The sulci area is often difficult to target effectively with run-of-the-mill burrs – this burr was designed to do just that.
Although you will need to use it in conjunction with other burr styles to achieve a comprehensive finish, the results as a whole will be at a higher level if Podiatrists select the right burr for the job.
Barrel, Cylinder or Hurricane Burrs
These burr styles are characterised as larger, wider burrs with their size being their main advantage. The large surface area allows large areas of callus, excess skin and nail to be targeted and managed at an extremely efficient rate. This productivity comes at the expense of precision though, with no ‘point’ or ‘tip’ to target the more confined areas.
In cases where the delicate areas are not required to be managed, barrel, cylinder or hurricane burrs are an excellent choice.
Mushroom or Umbrella Burrs
Mushroom or umbrella burrs are used as a replacement for abrasive discs to smooth and debride rough areas of the foot which have excess skin of callus present. Economic and environmentally friendly clinics may prefer these bur styles in order to avoid using disposable sanding discs.
These burr styles are generally only available with diamond as the abrasive component, which restricts their effectiveness when faced with large burring requirements, but ensures a great finish.
Can Podiatry Burs Australia’s Burs be Reprocessed?
All of Podiatry Burs Australia’s bur range is designed to be used again and again.
They 100% autoclave safe and are ultrasonic cleaner compatible.
Our comprehensive quality control and testing processes ensures that every style of bur added to our range is able to stand up to the rigors of any Podiatry clinical environment.
How Should Burs be Sterilised or Reprocessed?
The nature of the cuts and grooves on the head of many bur styles present opportunities for contaminated debris to adhere and remain lodges within the head of the bur throughout the sterilisation process. It’s important that this is removed as effectively as possible.
To begin the process, ensure that you begin the pre-clean no more than a few hours after they’re used. This will prevent contaminated material from effectively adhering to the bur. To assist the pre-clean process, use a soft nylon brush in combination with a disinfectant solution, followed by rinsing with clean water.
Alternatively, an ultrasonic cleaner may be used. When doing so, ensure that the head of the burs are not in contact with any other surface such as the basket or other burs. This will quickly damage the head of the bur and reduce its effective lifetime.
Follow the sterilisation procedures and requirements of your region to ensure that you’re meeting all of the requirements.
3. Post sterilisation
Allow the burs to fully cool before use.
So, What is the Best Podiatry Bur?
With the ever growing shapes, compositions and combinations of the two, it’s almost impossible to try every bur on the market! But what you can do is speak to your colleagues and other Podiatrists about what they use and like. Combine that with your knowledge of the caseload you’re experienced in seeing, and experiment with some different shapes and compositions. It’s amazing how often Podiatrists have never used a different bur style apart from the diamond bur they learnt to use in university!
If you’re still not sure which bur is best for you, contact us!