The Effect of Foot Exercises on Wound Healing in Type 2 Diabetic Patients With a Foot Ulcer: A Randomized Control Study

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PURPOSE:The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of foot exercises on wound healing in type 2 diabetic patients with a diabetic foot ulcer.DESIGN:Prospective, randomized controlled study.SUBJECT AND SETTINGS:Sixty-five patients from an outpatient clinic with grade 1 or 2 ulcers (Wagner classification) who met study criteria agreed to participate; 60 patients completed the study and were included in the final analysis. Subjects were followed up between February 2014 and June 2015.METHODS:Subjects were recruited by the researchers in the clinics where they received treatment. Subjects were randomly allocated to either the control or intervention group. Data were collected using investigator-developed forms: patient information form and the diabetic foot exercises log. Patients in the intervention group received standard wound care and performed daily foot exercises for 12 weeks; the control group received standard wound care but no exercises. The ulcers of the patients in both the intervention and control groups were examined and measured at the 4th, 8th, and 12th weeks. The groups were compared in terms of the ulcer size and depth. To analyze and compare the data, frequency distribution, mean (standard deviation), variance analysis, and the independent samples t test and the χ2 test were used.RESULTS:The mean ulcer areas were 12.63 (14.43), 6.91 (5.44), 4.30 (3.70), and 3.29 (3.80) cm2 (P < .05) in the study intervention group, and 24.67 (20.70), 24.75 (20.84), 20.33 (20.79), and 18.52 (21.49) cm2 in the control group in the 4th, 8th, and 12th weeks, respectively. Significant differences were found between diabetic foot ulcer sizes in the study intervention group in the 4th and 12th weeks compared to beginning baseline (P ≤ .05). However, only the 12th week was different from the beginning in the control group (P = .000). The mean depths of the ulcers were 0.56 (0.85), 0.42 (0.68), 0.36 (0.50), and 0.28 (0.38) cm in the study intervention group (P < .05) and 0.61 (0.84), 0.82 (1.07), 0.83 (1.21), and 0.80 (1.26) cm in the control group, respectively, at the baseline, and at the 4th, 8th, and 12th weeks, respectively (P = .000).CONCLUSION:The ulcer areas decreased significantly in the study intervention group compared to the control group during the 3 follow-up measurements. An important finding in this study was the DFU area decreased more in those who exercised more. Findings suggests foot exercises should be included in the treatment plan when managing patients with diabetic foot ulcers.

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