Promising Treatment Method: Will Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Help to Heal Diabetic Foot Wounds?

A person recently wrote in to The Town Talk concerned about their 84-year-old diabetic father who has had a foot wound for five months. A podiatrist debrided the diabetic foot wound, prescribed antibiotics, and changed the bandages regularly, but the writer was wondering if hyperbaric treatment could help in this case. Many users of the SteriShoe UV shoe sanitizer are diabetics who are also worried about foot health and hygiene, so the portent for hyperbaric oxygen treatment is something we’re very much interested in.

chronic diabetic foot wound

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is an advanced treatment for chronic diabetic foot wounds.
Image Source: MemorialHermann.org

What Should a Person Do about a Diabetic Foot Wound?

“By far, the best way to deal with diabetic foot ulcers is to not get them in the first place,” said Dr. Keith Roach of Orlando, Florida, in crafting his response for The Town Talk. He adds that there is no substitute for good diabetes control, wearing proper footwear, and checking the feet regularly. Any small wound, ingrown toenail, or foot infection can be a cause for concern with a diabetic.

HBOT

HBOT has a variety of uses, but diabetic foot healing is the most common.
Image Source: PremierNashville.com

What Is Hyperbaric Oxygen?

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) uses a pressurized, oxygen-rich environment to encourage the body’s natural healing processes. A session delivers 20 times the normal volume of oxygen to the body’s tissues. John Hopkins Medicine says that hyperbaric oxygen can be used to treat:

– Soft tissue infections

– Burns

– Crush injuries

– Skin grafts

– Radiation injuries

– Diabetes wounds

Does Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Work?

Studies of HBOT have been promising. A study published in 1990 found that hyperbaric oxygen treatment reduced the amputation rate from 33 percent to 5 percent. A review of six studies completed from 1987 to 1996, and encompassing over 1,000 patients, concluded that patients receiving HBOT had a 76 percent overall success rate.

While it’s not considered a first-line treatment, hyperbaric oxygen therapy has its place. The journal Diabetes Care questions the cost-effectiveness of treatment and the methodology of some studies on HBOT, but ultimately concludes: “For chronic diabetic foot wounds that are not responding to months of appropriate therapy, the present study, together with most of those previously published, suggests that HBOT improves long-term healing.”

Bedford Medical Center Boasts Excellent Healing Rates with HBOT

The Bedford Medical Center in Cleveland, Ohio, boasts a wound healing rate of over 91 percent within 30 days, thanks to their use of hyperbaric oxygen therapy. “Our facility and our team occupy the top echelon of the 550 wound care centers throughout the United States ranked by Healogics,” said Medical Director David J. Rowe, MD. They use HBOT on “some of the more difficult wounds,” such as diabetic ulcers, soft tissue necrosis, osteomyelitis, and skin grafts. Recently, they used HBOT to stop internal bleeding in a 12-year-old girl with acute myeloid leukemia undergoing a bone marrow transplant — although, Dr. Rowe admits the therapy is most commonly used for diabetic foot ulcer patients. 

Keeping Your Feet Infection-Free with UV Light

Speaking with a podiatric surgeon is the best course of action if you’re concerned about a diabetic foot wound that simply won’t heal. At home, you’ll want to employ the best possible foot hygiene practices to ensure you don’t suffer an infection. The SteriShoe UV shoe sanitizer kills up to 99.9% of the fungus and bacteria harbored in footwear with just one 45-minute treatment. Using this device each day is a smart step in limiting the amount of pathogens with which you come into contact. Try our ultraviolet light sanitizer risk-free.

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