Advances in traditional Chinese medicine as adjuvant therapy for diabetic foot

World J Diabetes. 2022 Oct 15;13(10):851-860. doi: 10.4239/wjd.v13.i10.851.


Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a complex disease that often causes multiple systemic complications that have become a major international public health problem. Diabetic foot (DF) is one of the severe and frequent chronic complications of DM due to vascular lesions and neuropathy. DF ulcers (DFU) affect approximately 15% of people with DM and are the leading cause of death and disability. The prevalence and recurrence of DF are worrisome, and morbidity and mortality are also on the rise, which poses a substantial socioeconomic burden. Treating DF is difficult for clinicians and requires multidisciplinary cooperation, combining local and systemic therapy to reduce amputation and case-fatality rates. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has received extensive attention due to noticeable therapeutic effects and few adverse reactions. In recent years, research on DF treatment by TCM has been increasing, and further progress has been made. TCM includes oral medication, injectable preparations, and adjuvant therapy. This article reviews the relevant research on TCM-related adjuvant therapy for DF. We describe current progress in TCM in terms of external application, acupuncture, massage, acupoint injection, foot bath, fumigation, and moxibustion, as well as the mechanisms involved.

Keywords: Diabetes Mellitus; Diabetic foot; Foot ulcers; Traditional Chinese medicine; Wound healing.

Publication types

  • Review