Three million Canadians, nearly 9 per cent of the population, are diabetic and another 6 per cent of Canadian adults are at risk of developing it. The number of Canadians living with diabetes is growing by more than 3 per cent yearly, making it one of Canada’s most prevalent chronic diseases.

Foot ulcers, usually found at the bottom of the foot, are one of the most common and serious complications from diabetes. According to the University of Michigan, around 15 per cent of patients with diabetes will develop foot ulcers, and between 14 to 24 per cent of that figure have an amputation. In Canada, adults with diabetes are 20 times more likely of being hospitalized for nontraumatic lower limb amputations.

Diabetic Foot Ulcer Treatment options can include off-loading, where patients wear special footgear, brace, castings, or use a wheelchair or crutches. Dressings, topically applied medications, and blood glucose management are also used.

A study published in BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders compared the effectiveness of shockwave therapy for treating diabetic foot ulcers. Researchers divided 30 patients into two groups, where one received shockwave therapy and the other the standard care method. They evaluated the rate of re-epithelization over 20 weeks.

Delivering acoustic sound waves to the affected area, shockwave therapy accelerates the body’s healing process by stimulating metabolism and blood circulation. In the study, researchers aimed the shockwave device directly around the perimeter of the ulcer, using ultrasonic gel and plastic draping to prevent cross-contamination. The control group receiving standard care were treated using debridement, pressure relief, and treatment of infection.

After 20 weeks of treatment, over half of the shockwave therapy group had complete wound closure versus only a third of the control group. Healing times were also significantly different between the groups. The shockwave therapy group took an average of 61 days to heal compared to 82 days for the control group. The index of re-epithelization for the shockwave therapy group had values of 2.97 mm2/die while the control group had 1.30 mm2/die.

Because both the healing rate and time were increased in the shockwave therapy group, the researchers concluded that shockwave therapy may be a useful for diabetic foot ulcer treatment.

Because diabetic foot ulcers can be so debilitating, it can be hard for patients to seek treatment. Many of Shockwave Canada’s devices are portable, so practitioners can treat patients where they’re most comfortable. Shockwave therapy can also treat other conditions associated with diabetes like frozen shoulder.

If you would like to incorporate the long-term benefits of shockwave therapy into your practice, contact us today by dialing 1 (888) 741-SHOC(7462) or by visiting our website.