Effectiveness of topical insulin in the management of diabetic foot ulcers.

  • Shafaatullah - Baqai Medical University Karachi
  • Sadaf Iqbal Baqai Medical University Karachi
  • Bushra Zulfiqar Civil Hospital Karachi, DUHS
  • Shayan Zufishan Karachi Medical & Dental College (KMDC).
Keywords: Diabetic Foot Ulcers, Delayed Wound Healing, Topical Insulin


Introduction: Diabetes mellitus is one of the most common metabolic disorders affecting a large part of our population. Apart from its effect on all organ systems, these metabolic derangements affect other processes in the body as well. Diabetic wounds are difficult to treat with conventional treatments. Delayed wound healing has led to increased morbidity and mortality in the population. Increased blood glucose leads to ineffective angiogenesis and less collagen deposition. In various studies long acting insulin zinc suspension has been shown to augment wound healing without any harmful effects. Objectives: To find out the advantages of topical insulin in the management of diabetic foot ulcers. Study Design: Observational study. Setting: Plastic Surgery and General Surgery Department, Baqai Medical University Karachi. Period: January 2014 to December 2016. Material and Methods: Patients visiting the Surgical OPD with diabetes mellitus and concomitantly having foot ulcers were included in the study. Diabetics having blood glucose levels of 110-130 gm/dl and ulcers measuring more than one cm on the dorsum of the foot were included in the study. All patients having foot ulcers were treated by daily topical spray of 1cc saline mixed with 5 units of insulin. This treatment was continued for 12 weeks or till the time ulcer was completely healed (whichever was earlier) and ulcer size was measured weekly. Ulcer size and depth before and after treatment was measured. Results: We had a total of 65 participants, among them there were 52 males and 13 females presenting with diabetic foot ulcer. Around 87.6% (n=57) patients had type 2 diabetes mellitus whereas 12.3% (n=8) patients had type 1 diabetes mellitus. Upon examination of the patient the location, size and depth of the ulcer was measured as well. These parameters were measured before and after treatment by topical insulin spray. Right foot ulcers were present in 64.6% of the patients and 35.38% patients had left foot ulcers. The mean size and depth of ulcer was 5.1 + 1.1 cm2 and 8.7 + 0.12 mm respectively. After treatment the mean size and depth of ulcer was found to be 1 + 0.04cm2 and 1.4 + 0.12mm respectively. Conclusion: There was significant improvement after treatment of diabetic foot ulcers with topical insulin spray. The wound size and depth were considerably decreased. This treatment had more promising results than conventional treatment methods for diabetic foot ulcers.

Author Biographies

Shafaatullah -, Baqai Medical University Karachi

MBBS, MS General Surgery, DSS (AUS),

Fellowship in Reconstructive Micro Surgery

Assistant Professor 

Department of Surgery/Plastic Surgery


Sadaf Iqbal, Baqai Medical University Karachi

MBBS, MS General Surgery

Assistant Professor 

Department of Surgery 


Bushra Zulfiqar, Civil Hospital Karachi, DUHS


Assistant Professor 

Department of Plastic Surgery 


Shayan Zufishan, Karachi Medical & Dental College (KMDC).



Department of Biochemistry