Aims: The application of felted foam is a promising method for plantar pressure reduction in the ulcer region of diabetic foot ulcers, but knowledge of its effects on wound healing is sparse. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of felted foam on wound healing in diabetic foot ulcers compared with a standard method of plantar pressure relief.
Materials and methods: A total of 54 Type 1 or Type 2 diabetic patients with neuropathic diabetic foot ulcers were evaluated in this prospective randomized controlled study. Ulcer healing was assessed by planimetric measurement of the wound area at beginning of the study and after 10 weeks and at least until wound healing. The patients were consecutively enrolled in the study; 24 patients were randomized to the felted foam therapy, and 30 patients were randomized to conventional therapy.
Results: In the felted foam group, the initial average wound area was 102.3 +/- 45.3 mm2 (mean +/- sd), and 5.4 +/- 3.1 mm2 after 10 weeks with an average healing time of 75 days [95% confidence interval (CI) 67-84]. In the conventional therapy group, the initial average wound area was 112.5 +/- 50.8 mm2, and 10.6 +/- 4.2 mm2 after 10 weeks with an average healing time of 85 days (95% CI 79-92) (P = 0.03). The mean wound radius decreased by 0.48 mm (95% CI 0.42-0.56) per week in the felted foam group and by 0.39 mm (95% CI 0.35-0.42) per week in the conventional group (P = 0.005).
Conclusions: The felted foam technique appears to be at least as effective as conventional plantar ulcer treatment. It may be a useful alternative in treating neuropathic foot ulceration, especially in patients who are not able to avoid weight-bearing reliably.