Foot Ulcers/Wounds

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Diabetic wounds of the lower extremity

Many diabetes patients develop skin ulcers on the feet, most often found by the sole of the foot and around the heel. Bacteria can cause an infection through small cracks (fissures) that can develop in the dry skin around the heel and on other parts of the foot or through corns, calluses, blisters, hangnails, or ulcers. If not treated, the bacterial infection can destroy skin, tissue, and bone or spread throughout the body.

The ulcers/wounds result from the inflammation and degeneration of peripheral nerves. If the foot wound is not treated properly, hospitalization and possibly amputation could result by allowing anaerobic organisms to flourish. For patients with diabetes mellitus with accelerated atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), their resistance to infection is reduced and the lower extremity amputation rate is increased.

Most hyperbaric oxygen treatment is used as an adjunctive therapy in the management of diabetes complications, particularly diabetic foot ulcers that often result in amputation of toes, feet or legs. Early, aggressive wound care strategies combined with hyperbaric oxygen therapy treatment, can prevent osteomyelitis and amputations and help improve the quality of life for diabetic patients.

According to a study cited by Diabetes Spectrum (Vol. 10, 1997), “avoidance of rehabilitation costs and the additional savings involved in prevention of re-amputation or stump revision is an additional benefit” of hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Hospital visits were also shown to decline.

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy works to improve and heal the hypoxic areas through a significant increase in oxygen to the tissues. The elevation in oxygen tension in ischemic and infected wound tissue induces healing by enhancing fibroblast replication, collagen synthesis and the neovascularization process. It works best as an adjunctive therapy to multi-disciplinary wound care.

Case Study

Wagner Grade III Diabetic Ulcer – Right Foot

Why Add Adjunctive Hyperbarics for Diabetic Foot Wounds?

American Diabetes Association, www.diabetes.org.

 

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