Diabetes and F.R.E.M.S Therapy
One of the most dangerous effects of diabetes is on the ability of the foot to detect various types of trauma. Some of the nerves in the feet are responsible for producing pain in response to injury. This is an extremely important sensation. When the nerves stop working well, the afflicted individual may feel some things well, but might not be alerted to other things, like a scrape, blister, or some other minor trauma to the skin. When combined with a diabetic’s reduced ability to fight bacteria, it is understandable that diabetics suffer from a higher incidence of serious, limb-threatening infections.
This problem with reduced sensation and numbness is termed neuropathy, and studies reveal that most diabetic’s will eventually suffer from this malady if they have diabetes for 6 years or more. Unfortunately, we have not previously been able to offer effective treatments for this condition. There have been few options, one being medications that masked neuropathy. These were occasionally worthwhile if the numbness had progressed to painful burning, but they did not improve the ability to “feel“ things, and had some unpleasant side effects. Anodyne therapy, a type of light therapy, improved sensation, but only very temporary, usually lasting about a week.
Finally, we have a better option, and it‘s called F.R.E.M.S. therapy (Frequency Rhythmic Electrically Modulated Stimulation). This is a new form of electrical stimulation, which was developed a decade ago in Europe. It has been shown to reverse the effects of diabetes on the nerves, and therefore, not only reduce the pain that can be associated with diabetes , but also improve sensation. This improved nerve function means a reduction in many of the problems associated with diabetes, like foot ulcers, and so a decreased risk of infection. This is directly associated with a lessened risk of amputation. It is available at only a handful of medical centers in North America. Fortunately for the residents of the U.P., Superior Foot and Ankle Centers is one of them.