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01-12-2021 | Research | Uitgave 1/2021 Open Access

Journal of Foot and Ankle Research 1/2021

Frequency of sharp wound debridement in the management of diabetes-related foot ulcers: exploring current practice

Journal of Foot and Ankle Research > Uitgave 1/2021
Vanessa L Nube, Jennifer A Alison, Stephen M Twigg
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Supplementary Information

The online version contains supplementary material available at https://​doi.​org/​10.​1186/​s13047-021-00489-1.

Publisher’s Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.



Conservative sharp wound debridement (CSWD) is fundamental to wound bed preparation. Evidence-based practice guidelines strongly recommend frequent CSWD of diabetes-related foot ulcers (DFU) based on expert opinion and observational studies which suggest that more frequent debridement is associated with better healing outcomes.


To document current practice with regards to CSWD of DFU and whether this is performed at every visit, how often and what factors determine debridement frequency.


Survey data were collected and managed using REDCap electronic data tools, a secure, web-based application. The survey was distributed through podiatry managers and relevant clinical networks between October 2017 and February 2018.


One hundred clinicians opened the survey and seventy-five surveys were completed by n = 53 NSW Health (Australia) employed podiatrists (representing 41% of all NSW Health podiatrists), 11 privately practicing podiatrists, and 11 nurses. Most (n = 47) worked in metropolitan areas versus regional/remote (n = 28). CSWD was the most frequently used debridement method, performed at every visit by most (84%) of podiatrists. Callus, slough and infection presence were the top 3 most important determinants of frequency, with staff time (a limiting factor) ranking 4th. Regional/remote podiatrists practiced less frequent debridement compared with those in metropolitan areas (debridement every 2 weeks or less = 71% regional podiatrists versus 45% metropolitan podiatrists) (p = 0.024).

Conclusion and clinical implications

CSWD was the predominant form of debridement used with debridement occurring at every treatment visit for most of the clinicians surveyed. Debridement frequency was determined by clinical wound indications and staffing resources, with regional/remote podiatrists providing debridement less often than their metropolitan colleagues.

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