New and experimental approaches to treatment of diabetic foot ulcers: a comprehensive review of emerging treatment strategies

Diabet Med. 2004 Nov;21(11):1161-73. doi: 10.1111/j.1464-5491.2004.01358.x.


Diabetic foot ulcers occur in up to 15% of all diabetic patients and are a leading cause of nontraumatic amputation worldwide. Neuropathy, abnormal foot biomechanics, peripheral vascular disease and external trauma are the major contributors to the development of a foot ulcer in the diabetic patient. Therapy today includes repeated debridement, offloading, and dressings, for lower grade ulcers, and broad spectrum antibiotics and occasionally limited or complete amputation for higher grades, requiring a team effort of health care workers from various specialties. The large population affected by diabetic foot ulcers and the high rates of failure ending with amputation even with the best therapeutic regimens, have resulted in the development of new therapies and are the focus of this review. These include new off loading techniques, dressings from various materials, methods to promote wound closure using artificial skin grafts, different growth factors or wound bed modulators and methods of debridement. These new techniques are promising but still mostly unproven and traditional approaches cannot be replaced. New and generally more expensive therapies should be seen as adding to traditional approaches.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bandages
  • Debridement / methods
  • Diabetic Foot / therapy*
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Growth Substances / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Wound Healing


  • Growth Substances