For people suffering from type 2 diabetes who tend to develop foot ulcers that are hard to heal, a promising research finds that chronic wounds may heal more quickly if exposed to low-intensity vibration.
"The new technique is already in clinical trials at Stony Brook University in New York to see if vibration can improve bone health and prevent osteoporosis," said Timothy Koh, a professor of kinesiology and nutrition in University of Illinois at Chicago.
Koh and his team collaborated with Stefan Judex of Stony Brook University to investigate whether the same technique might improve wound healing in diabetes.
"The low-amplitude vibrations are barely perceptible to touch. It is more like a buzz than an earthquake," Eileen Weinheimer-Haus, post-doctoral fellow in kinesiology and nutrition, added.
The researchers found that wounds exposed to vibration five times a week for 30 minutes healed more quickly than wounds in mice of a control group.
Wounds exposed to vibration formed more granulation tissue, a type of tissue important early in the wound-healing process.
Vibration helped tissue to form new blood vessels - a process called angiogenesis - and also led to increased expression of pro-healing growth factors and signaling molecules called chemokines.
"We know that chronic wounds in people with diabetes fail to form granulation tissue and have poor angiogenesis, and these factors contribute to their wounds' failure to heal," Koh explained.
It is a non-invasive procedure and does not require any drugs, said the study published in the journal PLOS One.