Background Lower limb oedema is a common co-morbidity in those with diabetes and foot ulceration and is linked with increased amputation risk. There is no current guidance for the treatment of concurrent diabetic foot ulcers and lower limb oedema, leading to uncertainty around the safety and efficacy of combination approaches incorporating offloading and compression therapies. To determine indications and contraindications for such strategies and identify any other supplementary treatment approaches, a scoping review was undertaken to map the evidence relating to off-loading and compression therapy strategies to treat both diabetic foot ulcers and lower limb oedema in combination. Methods Following the Joanna Briggs Institute (JBI) and PRISMA – Scoping Review (ScR) guidance, this review included published and unpublished literature from inception to April 2022. Literature was sourced using electronic databases including Cochrane Library, PubMed, CINAHL, AMED; websites; professional journals and reference lists of included literature. Eligible literature discussed the management of both diabetic foot ulceration and lower limb oedema and included at least one of the treatment strategies of interest. Data extraction involved recording any suggested off-loading, compression therapy or supplementary treatment strategies and any suggested indications, contraindications and cautions for their use. Results Five hundred twenty-two publications were found relating to the management of diabetic foot ulcers with an off-loading strategy or the management of lower limb oedema with compression therapy. 51 publications were eligible for inclusion in the review. The majority of the excluded publications did not discuss the situation where diabetic foot ulceration and lower limb oedema present concurrently. Conclusions Most literature, focused on oedema management with compression therapy to conclude that compression therapy should be avoided in the presence of severe peripheral arterial disease. Less literature was found regarding off-loading strategies, but it was recommended that knee-high devices should be used with caution when off-loading diabetic foot ulcers in those with lower limb oedema. Treatment options to manage both conditions concurrently was identified as a research gap. Integrated working between specialist healthcare teams, was the supplementary strategy most frequently recommended. In the absence of a definitive treatment solution, clinicians are encouraged to use clinical reasoning along with support from specialist peers to establish the best, individualised treatment approach for their patients. Trial registration Open Science Framework (osf.io/crb78).



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Journal of Foot and Ankle Research







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School of Health Professions