Vibration Therapy Could Help Type 2 Diabetes Wounds
Vibration therapy has been proposed and used for a number of health conditions ranging from weight loss to bone mending, and now there may be yet another benefit. Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago report that use of low-level vibration may prove to be helpful in management of wounds, such as foot ulcers, in people with type 2 diabetes.
About 15 percent of people with type 2 diabetes eventually experience foot ulcers, according to the American Podiatric Medical Association, which are the most common reason people with this disease have to stay in the hospital. These painless foot wounds can take weeks or months to heal and if not treated, can result in infection and amputation.
Current treatment of foot ulcers includes removal of the dead skin and tissue (called debridement), use of topical medications and daily dressing changes, antibiotics (as needed), skin substitutions (as needed), proper footwear, and optimal blood sugar control. Now researchers in Chicago have taken the success of other studies using low-intensity vibrations in bone rejuvenation and applied it to wound healing in mice with diabetes.
The results were promising. Mice exposed to 30 minutes of low-amplitude vibration five times a week produced more granulation tissue than did mice in the control group. Granulation tissue is important during the early part of the would-healing process.
Vibration also prompted angiogenesis, which is the formation of new blood vessels, as well as increased activity of other factors involved in wound healing. According to one of the study’s authors, Timothy Koh, UIC professor of kinesiology and nutrition, “The exciting thing about this intervention is how easily it could be translated to people,” since no drugs are involved, it’s noninvasive, and the process is being tested already in human trials as a way to protect against bone loss.
In fact, a recent study (March 2014) in Osteoporosis International reported on the use of low-magnitude, high-frequently vibration in the elderly. A total of 710 postmenopausal women older than 60 participated.
Vibration therapy was administered to 364 participants for 20 minutes daily, five days a week for 18 months. The control group consisted of 346 women.
Overall, the reported fall and fracture incidences were 18.6 percent in the vibration group compared with 28.7 percent in the control group. Women in the vibration group also experienced significant improvements in movement speed, balancing ability, quadriceps muscle strength, and reaction time while those in the control group did not.
Although the new study for foot ulcers has been done only in mice, previous success with vibration therapy plus the positive findings of this research suggest it has potential for people with type 2 diabetes. In fact, a clinical study of vibration for foot ulcers in people with type 2 diabetes is in the planning stages.
Leung KS et al. Effects of 18-month low-magnitude high-frequency vibration on fall rate and fracture risks in 710 community elderly—a cluster-randomized controlled trial. Osteoporosis International 2014 Mar 28
University of Illinois at Chicago