Hive Health Media

3 Innovative Podiatric Treatments for Diabetic Patients

Diabetic foot ulcers are a major complication that all diabetic individuals need to look out for. Usually caused by a variety of external and internal factors, these ulcers occur most frequently among diabetics and are the leading cause of all foot and lower leg amputations. In order to prevent amputation, these foot wounds must be allowed to properly heal. While the body is normally able to heal these wounds naturally, diabetes mellitus complicates and impedes the healing process and often, extra medical care and wound treatment is necessary.

diabetic-foot-ulcer-gross

Treatment of these ulcers, however, is anything but straightforward. There is much debate as to the proper method and no one method has proven to be completely effective. Failures in the wound healing process among diabetics continue to this day. Doctors and other medical professionals are continually researching and administering new techniques and devices to aid the foot healing process. Here, I would like to outline a few of these methods. Of course, your podiatrist should have the final word on any treatment relating to your foot health.

Rigid Total Contact Cast

Total Contact Casts or TCCs are often touted as the “gold standard” when it comes to wound care and healing diabetic foot ulcers. Clinical tests have shown that for most ulcers with moderate to low infection, with the exception of heel ulcers, are closed entirely within a matter of fives weeks using a TCC. It should be noted though that patients with little to no infection are most likely to benefit from a Total Contact Cast. However, due to their high cost and because insurance claims filed for Total Contact Cast treatment are often denied, TCCs are not employed often enough.

Biologic Foot Dressings

For non-healing foot ulcers that do not respond well to the more conventional methods of treatment, Biologic Skin Substitutes or BSS may be necessary. These advanced products, containing living human or animal cells are used to temporarily transplant new skin tissue onto areas of the foot that have been irrevocably damaged by ulcers. Other, more synthetic products, work by filling unhealed wounds to create a type of artificial skin for use while the wound heals.

Many of these methods are still experimental in nature and have been developed as an alternative to more expensive skin graft treatments and to speed up the healing process in a less painful manner.

Traditional Herbal Treatments

A less conventional, though far older method of treatment for foot wounds caused by diabetic foot ulcers, is traditional herbal therapy. Because wound care, especially when dealing with diabetic ulcers, can often fail despite the use of extensive dressings and high-tech skin substitutes, it is not unheard of for a podiatrist to resort to herbal medicine.

Traditional Chinese medicines, in use for about 4,000 years, when used in conjunction with modern antibiotics and negative pressure wound therapy, can produce some impressive healing effects. While these traditional methods, like the others I have outlined, are not always completely effective, they offer an exciting and inexpensive alternative to other foot health practices in use today.

Author Bio

E-Care Emergency Centers is an emergency care center in Keller, TX specializing in emergency center medical care for all injuries and illnesses, offering evening hours and weekends.

1 Comment

  1. Dr Jeffrey Lehrman

    January 4, 2013 at 10:21 am

    This article mentions Total Contact Cast. Here is a video of a Total Contact Cast being applied:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ycMUM770o8U

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *