The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that there are 347 million people around the world suffering from diabetes and one in 20 diabetic patients will develop foot ulcers. Diabetic Foot Ulcer (DFU) is considered as a major cause of morbidity and mortality among diabetic patients.
Because of poor circulation and reduced immune function, diabetic foot and leg ulcers are susceptible to infect more tissue, which hinders the healing process. One in 6 people with diabetic foot ulcers ends up with lower limb amputation. In general, diabetic foot ulcers that cannot be improved within 2 weeks by standard treatment require more aggressive management, including PEMF therapy and laser therapy.
In this blog, we will introduce you to a new study that demonstrates the effectiveness of PEMF therapy in reducing the bacterial infection in diabetic foot ulcers. In addition, the researchers studied the combined use of PEMF therapy with laser therapy and compared it to PEMF therapy alone.
This study was a prospective, single-blinded, pre–post-test, randomized controlled trial. Thirty diabetic foot ulcer patients were randomly assigned into two groups. Patients in group A were exposed to Pulsed Electromagnetic Field (PEMF) for 10 minutes per session. The frequency used was 20 Hz, and the intensity of PEMF in this trial was 2 Gauss. Patients in group B received the same dose of PEMF in addition to Infrared laser therapy with 904 nm wavelengths with a 5J/cm² density for 10 minutes. Additionally, all 30 patients received standard diabetic medications and nursing care. Both group A and group B received 12 sessions of treatment, three times per week for four weeks. The researchers measured the wound surface area at the beginning and after one month of treatment. Also, they measured the bacterial count in the wounds before and after treatment.
PEMF therapy alone showed a remarkable effect in reducing the bacterial count by 99% (from 100,000 colony units to 1000). The combination of PEMF therapy with laser therapy reduced the bacterial counts by 99.9% (from 100,000 colony units to 100).
PEMF therapy is a non-invasive technique used in wound healing by introducing micro currents of electromagnetic fields to the targeted tissues. PEMF therapy can enhance collagen synthesis, angiogenesis, and bacteriostasis consequently fostering wound healing. Hence, PEMF therapy is beneficial in addressing diabetic foot ulcers and reducing amputation. Laser therapy can activate enzymes responsible for cell metabolism. In this way, laser therapy increases mitochondrial activity, rises ATP, re-charges cells and finally stimulates wound healing. So, laser therapy is also strongly advised as a safe and natural tool to help with diabetic foot ulcers.
According to this research, PEMF therapy and laser therapy are both effective and recommended in reducing the infection of diabetic foot ulcers, however, combining PEMF therapy with laser therapy has a better effect on the treatment of diabetic foot ulcers. Even if available PEMF devices and laser devices are not exactly comparable to those used in this study, PEMF devices and laser devices on the market have the potential to produce similar results.
Additional effect of pulsed electromagnetic fields to laser therapy on management of diabetic foot ulcer: A single blind randomized controlled trial. Elrashid NAA, Hamada A. Hamada HA, Abdelmoety AM, et al. Bioscience Research (2018) 15(4):3322-3328.
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