Prevention of diabetic foot using low frequency magnetotherapy

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Date: Autumn 2003
From: The Diabetic Foot(Vol. 6, Issue 3)
Publisher: S.B. Communications
Document Type: Article
Length: 4,994 words

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1 This pilot study explored the potential for incorporation of magnetotherapy (MT) into care programmes for people with diabetic feet.

2 Twenty-six people with type 2 diabetes, foot ischaemia and an ABI <0.85 took part in the study.

3 Systemic blood pressure, Doppler frequency change and transcutaneous partial pressure of oxygen were measured before, during and after MT treatment.

4 After a 30-minute exposure of the diabetic foot to MT the microcirculation in the dorsum of the foot increased, as reflected by higher transcutaneous partial pressure of oxygen measurements.


* Magnetotherapy

* Diabetic neuropathy

* Ischaemic foot

* Pulsed electromagnetic fields


People with type 2 diabetes should be educated to address ischaemic foot problems before and as they arise, with interventions aimed at reducing the discomfort and the psychosocial impact and disability caused. This article discusses a pilot study that was undertaken to explore the possibility of incorporating magnetotherapy into prophylactic programmes for patients with diabetic feet. Magnetotherapy was found to improve local circulation and oxygenation in ischaemic feet of participants with type 2 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes is associated with maturity-onset diminished insulin secretion by the pancreatic beta cells and/or cellular insulin resistance. Its high prevalence in many countries is causing increasing concern.

Nearly 17 million people in the US have type 2 diabetes (American Diabetes Association website, 2003). In 1997, Currie and Peters estimated that 5% of the UK population had diabetes, and 2.4 million people are now estimated to have diabetes (Diabetes UK website, 2003). The number of people with type 2 diabetes in the UK is set to double by 2010. Even mainland China's 3.63% age-adjusted prevalence of diabetes among adults (Pan et al, 1996) is predicted to rise sharply as the result of westernisation of lifestyles (Nash, 2001). Research has also shown that there is a high prevalence of type 2 diabetes in Chinese people living outside China. In Hong Kong, demand for healthcare resources by people with type 2 diabetes (estimated at 7.7% of the population) has increased, with nearly 33% of prescriptions issued from government-funded primary healthcare units and hospital medical clinics containing antidiabetic drugs (Chan and Cockram, 1997).

Cox and Gonder-Frederick (1992) have highlighted the significance of applying interventions that may minimise the psychosocial issues associated with the complications of diabetes. With this in mind, we decided to carry out a pilot study focusing on the use of magnetotherapy (MT) to treat people with type 2 diabetes who are at risk of wound complications from minor trauma to their feet.

People in this group often have distal polyneuropathy, psychomotor slowing, impaired tactile, thermal and pain sensation, autonomic nerve dysfunction, increased arteriovenous shunting, decreased local arterial blood flow, microangiopathy, decreased sweating and tissue hypoxia in their feet (Flynn and Tooke, 1995). These problems, along with peripheral vascular disease (PVD) and cutaneous ischaemia, are associated with the risk of developing slow-healing or even non-healing wounds (Nelzen et al, 1997).

McKenna (1991) found PVD present in 67% of the ulcerated legs in the study. Research has shown that...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A108881848