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J Wound Care. 2015 Dec;24(12):560, 562-70. doi: 10.12968/jowc.2015.24.12.560.

Treatment of the diabetic foot by offloading: a systematic review.

Author information

1
Staff Nurse, Professor and Head of the School of Nursing and Midwifery The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.
2
Professor and Head of the School of Nursing and Midwifery, The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To compare the literature on the strengths and limitations of different offloading devices in the treatment of diabetic foot ulcers.

METHOD:

Systematic review of the literature in the following databases: the Cumulative Index to Nursing an Allied Health Literature (CINAHL); Medline; Embase; Cochrane Library and Web of Knowledge. The search strategy used the terms: diabetic foot; orthosis/orthotic devices/orthoses; foot orthosis/foot orthoses; casts/plaster cast/surgical cast; shoes.

RESULTS:

Our results identified 15 studies, which are included in this review. Healing rates, healing times and reduction in ulcer size were improved with the use of total contact casting, when compared with other offloading devices. The main adverse effects associated with the use of the device were infection, maceration and abrasion. Cost, compliance and quality of life issues were rarely included within the studies.

CONCLUSION:

Offloading is a key treatment strategy for the management of diabetic foot ulcers and total contact casts were found to be the most effective devices to achieve ulcer healing. However, they are not without complications and their impact on cost, compliance and quality of life is not well understood.

KEYWORDS:

diabetes mellitus; diabetic foot; diabetic foot ulcer; offloading; systematic review

PMID:
26654736
DOI:
10.12968/jowc.2015.24.12.560
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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