Diabetic foot ulcers and pressure ulcers are chronic wounds. They might be caused by trauma,neuropathy or deformity. Neuropathy can cause loss of protective sensation and coordination of muscle groups. In the United States5% of diabetic patients develop foot ulcers annually and 1% of those have to undergo amputation. The cure for diabeticfoot ulcers and pressure ulcers require therapeutic footwear, saline dressings, controlling sugar and in some cases antibiotic therapy might be needed for cellulitis.
Diabetic foot ulcers can be divided into two groups:
- Neuropathic ulcers: foot becomes warm and is covered with palpable cracks and less sweating is observed.
- Neuroischaemic ulcers: foot is cool, the skin becomes thin, shiny and hairless.
Market for diabetic foot ulcers and pressure ulcers
The market demand for the diabetic foot ulcers and pressure ulcers’ treatment is rising due to the increasing cases of chronic wounds.Diabetic foot ulcers if left untreated might later lead to foot amputation and the pressure ulcers are often result of lack of movement of the patients and can cause a long stay in the hospital.
The global diabetic foot ulcers and pressure ulcers market was valued at USD 2.8 billion in 2015 and is expected to reach USD 4.9 billion in 2024. The market driving factors in this instance are increasing cases of diabetic foot and pressure ulcers, because of higher percentage of geriatric population and higher life expectancy. It is due to these factors that the market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 6.6% for the next 7 years.
Ulcers and their treatment
- Neuropathic ulcers generally develop on the plantar part of the foot or toes. A callus is formed in this case which puts pressure on the the soft tissues and causes an ulcer. In the neuropathic foot, first the callus surrounding the ulcer is disposed of with a scalpel. It is suggested to check the ulcer if it is extending to bone which can cause osteomyelitis.
- Neuroischaemic ulcers generallydevelop on the margins of the foot. They also grow on the tips of the toes and beneath any toe nails if these are allowed to grow too much. These are smoothed off firstly, as they can hook the dressings and can cause complications to the soft underlying tissue. If a subungual ulcer is caused, the nail has be cut or pared away, to expose and then surgically drain the ulcer.
Ulcers cause acute pain, loss in productivity, and generatehigh cost of treatment. Pressure ulcers might occur without any cause in the elderly population or in patients who are bedridden. Patients should be informedabout the careof ulcers by resting, wearing correct footwear and observing for any signs of infection. The main telltale signs for ulcers are: pain,swelling, change of colour, and fissures in the skin.