Three conditions must be present for a diabetic foot ulcer to heal without amputation, according to new findings of Swedish researchers.
First, the foot ulcer must be superficial in nature. Second, the resident must have normal blood circulation. Finally, it’s important that the person has had diabetes for a relatively short time, investigators found. Nearly 2,500 people participated in the study, which is believed to be the largest-ever foot ulcer study.
“People who have had diabetes for a long time often develop poor blood circulation in their legs, which hampers healing,” said Magdalena Annersten Gershater, a registered nurse and researcher at Malmö University in Sweden.
Gershater performed the study to determine factors related to diabetic foot ulcer healing — with and without amputation. About two-thirds of the patients healed without amputation. Decisive factors were those listed above, Gershater noted. Another 9% of the cases were resolved with amputation of toes or the front of the foot, while 8% underwent leg amputation.
“The study shows that deep infections, vascular disease, the location of the sore, male gender and other disease all increase the risk of amputation,” Gershater added.
She said she is hopeful that providers will take a more comprehensive approach to diabetic foot ulcer care.