The effects of electrical stimulation on diabetic ulcers of foot and lower limb: a systematic review

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Diabetic foot ulcer is a life-threatening condition affecting a third of diabetic patients. Many adjuvant therapies aimed at improving the healing rate and accelerating healing time are currently under investigation. Electrical stimulation is a physical-based therapy able to increase cells activity and migration into wound bed as well as inhibiting bacterial activity. The aim of this paper was to collect and analyse findings on the effects of electrical stimulation used in combination with standard wound care in the treatment of diabetic foot ulceration compared to standard wound care alone. A systematic review was performed to synthesise data from quantitative studies from eight databases. Article quality was assessed using the Crowe critical appraisal tool. Seven articles out of 560 publications met the inclusion criteria. A meta-analysis was not performed due to the heterogeneity of the studies and the results were narratively synthetised. Findings showed that healing rate appears to be higher among diabetic ulcers treated with electrical stimulation, however the reliability of these findings is affected by the small sample sizes of the studies. Furthermore, five studies are considered as moderate or high risk of bias. The evidence to suggest the systematic usage of electrical stimulation in the treatment of diabetic foot ulcers is still insufficient.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-23
Number of pages23
JournalInternational Wound Journal
Publication statusPublished - 2 Feb 2022

Bibliographical note


  • Diabetic Foot
  • Diabetic Ulceration
  • Electrical stimulation
  • Physical Therapy
  • Systematic review


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