The Buzz on Foot Treatments

Electric pulses helped to heal foot ulcers for people with diabetes, according to the results of a study out of the University of Texas that were published in the June issue of the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

Forty study participants had non-infected foot ulcers and were treated with wound care (cleaning, gel, a dressing change twice a day and reduced pressure on the site of the wound). In addition, half were given electric stimulation treatment via a small device called Micro-Z for 12 weeks. The other half was given a sham treatment.

The high-pulse electric voltages were administered at night for eight hours at 50 volts, with a peak of 80 pulses per second for 10 minutes, then eight pulses per second for 10 minutes and then a 40-minute pause.

According to Lawrence A. Lavery, DPM, MPH, and colleagues from the Health Sciences Center in San Antonio, when the treatment was administered along with cleaning and dressing, it was more effective than using the traditional method of cleaning and treating the wounds alone.

The treatment “did not heal ulcers faster, but healed a higher proportion of them,” said Lavery in the report, noting that electric stimulation needs to be used along with basic wound care treatments. “It’s not a silver bullet, but it’s more promising than some pharmaceuticals that I’ve seen.”

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