diabetic foot ulcer

Sensor-assisted wound therapy can help support faster closure of plantar foot ulcers while maintaining a patient’s mobility, researchers reported in the Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology.

While a team of German researchers called traditional off-loading the “cornerstone” of plantar diabetic foot ulcer treatment, they noted limiting mobility has psychological and cardiovascular side effects, and patients may delay healing by removing devices.

They developed three, non-removable techniques: a multilayer felt sole, a felt-fiberglass sole and a total-contact cast with vent windows. Patients were encouraged to walk while wearing them.

Each technique had sensors built in that transmitted data on pressure, temperature, humidity and steps taken to a smartwatch or wound care app. The system alerted patients, staff and a telehealth center when pressure limits were exceeded. 

The off-loading techniques were tested on 20 ambulatory patients, and researchers found encouraging walking reduced median healing time versus a control group with a 50% reduction in wound size at 10 days, versus 19.