Monitoring skin temperature can help not only predict, but also prevent foot ulcers that form as a result of diabetic neuropathy, according to a new study.
Published in the Journal of Food and Ankle Research, the study concludes that elevated skin temperature can serve as a predictor in the development of foot ulcers when comparing the temperature between the same site on both limbs.
Temperature has been used to mark inflammation and monitor foot issues such as neuropathic arthropathy, a degeneration of the weight-bearing joints of the foot and also related to diabetes.
But researchers said that after reviewing data from patients who had taken home a thermometer to track foot temperature much as they would blood glucose, the practice showed some success.
“It looks like the data suggest that checking temperature is maybe one of the most valuable tools in our combined arsenal for prevention,” said Dr. David Armstrong, director of the Southern Arizona Limb Salvage Alliance in Podiatry Today.
By preventing foot ulcers, Armstrong said that the likelihood of amputation would also be reduced.
For those already dealing with foot ulcers, frequent debridement (the removal of dead, damaged, or infected tissue to promote healing) could boost the rate of healing for those ulcers.
According to a recent study appearing in the Journal of American Medicine publication Dermatology, treating chronic wounds with more regular debridement led to faster wound healing for patients, including those with diabetic foot ulcers and pressure ulcers.
According to the study, those who underwent debridement at least once a week healed over an average of 21 days, compared with 76 days for those who underwent debridement once every two weeks or longer.
Chronic wounds affect almost 7 million Americans each year, and cost as much as $25 billion annually.
While debridement is considered standard care for those with diabetic foot ulcers, increasing the frequency is the key takeaway from the study.