clinican cleaning a diabeic foot ulcer on a patient that is sitting in a hospital bed

Diabetic Foot Ulcer (DFU) Treatment

Your patients count on you to help them stay out of the hospital and reduce the pain and discomfort caused by DFUs. We offer negative pressure wound therapy (NPWT), advanced wound dressings, and skin integrity solutions to help your patients on their journey to healing.

DFUs are the leading non-traumatic cause of lower extremity and foot amputations worldwide¹

They are partial to full thickness wounds with potential bone involvement that can occur due to diabetes, neuropathy, decreased blood flow, increased pressure on the bottom of the foot, decreased sensation, and other factors. The critical nature of DFUs require timely care to promote wound healing and avoid amputation.

The main objective in DFU management is to prevent amputation by closing the wound as quickly as possible. 3M™ V.A.C.® Therapy should NOT be initiated on a wound with untreated osteomyelitis, a common consequence of diabetic foot infections, increases the risk of amputation.² Consideration should be given to thorough debridement of all necrotic, nonviable tissue, including infected bone (if necessary) and appropriate antibiotic therapy." It has been demonstrated that early initiation* of NPWT can reduce time to significant closure by up to 50% for acute wounds and 67% for chronic wounds. **³

*Defined as treatment within the first 7 days for acute wound and 30 days for chronic wounds from the first wound treatment date.
** Based on a retrospective analysis conducted on a national insurance provider’s medical claims data, which examined 6,181 acute and 1,480 chronic wound patients that received NPWT from January 1, 2009 to June 30, 2011.

  • white icon of an amputated leg on blue circlular background
    More than 1 million diabetic-related amputations occur annually¹
  • white icon of an diabetic foot ulcer on foot on blue circlular background
    25% lifetime risk of developing a DFU for patients with diabetes⁴
  • white icon of warning symbol on blue circlular background
    Risk of death is 2.5x higher at 5 years for patients with a DFU than those without⁴

Key components of best practice DFU management

Best practice supports the use of topical wound care and dressings to properly manage exudate levels and support moist wound healing.⁵ Excessive moisture can lead to periwound maceration; whereas inadequate moisture may cause desiccation and cell death.⁶ Both result in delayed healing and increased costs.

Download the DFU guidelines (PDF 1.5 MB)

  • Treatment of underlying disease process

    It is important to manage the patient's diabetes as well as risk factors that can lead to ulceration early in order to treat the wound effectively.⁵

  • Ensure adequate blood supply to the limb

    The limb must receive adequate blood supply to promote healing.⁵

  • Local wound care including infection control, tissue debridement and callus removal
    Wound care includes managing wound exudate, infection control, tissue debridement and callus removal.⁵
  • Pressure offloading
    Pressure redistribution (offloading) and reduction of repetitive shear is critical for prevention of further tissue inflammation or damage, and healing of existing ulcers.⁵

Advanced wound care and skin integrity solutions for DFU management

3M's comprehensive portfolio of solutions spans the entire spectrum of advanced wound care and skin integrity needs. From dressings that can manage exudate or provide a barrier to bacterial contamination, to products that help protect your patients’ skin, 3M gives you the effective solutions and support your wound care patients need to encourage healing and help them get back to their lives.

Find solutions below based on the type of wound care application you require.

  • icon DFU on blue background

    Protect the skin

    • Protecting the skin is vital to help ensure good skin health for patients with diabetes. Adverse skin changes can be noted when dressings are unable to manage the volume of drainage, or are not changed often enough. Research supports routine protection of periwound skin from excess exudate and mechanical trauma, and protection of at-risk, compromised skin as essential parts of wound management and wound bed preparation.⁷

    • NOTE: Specific indications, contraindications, warnings, precautions, and safety information exist for these products and therapies. Please consult a clinician and product Instructions for Use prior to application. This material is intended for healthcare professionals. Rx only.
  • cavilon no sting barrier applied to diabetic foot ulcer
    For the routine protection of periwound skin in low risk patients.

    Protect Skin

    3M™ Cavilon™ No Sting Barrier Film
    Including Cavilon No Sting Barrier Film in the DFU wound care process helps protect periwound skin from maceration, and can provide protection from adhesive stripping and or tape trauma.⁷

  • Close up of Diabetic Foot Ulcer, Non-Infected Wound
    For managing moderate to severe skin damage in higher risk patients.

    Protect At-Risk Skin

    3M™ Cavilon™ Advanced Skin Protectant
    For denuded or at risk periwound skin, Cavilon Advanced Skin Protectant has a unique formulation which attaches to wet, weepy skin⁸ providing long-lasting skin protection.⁸

  • icon DFU on blue background

    Prepare the wound bed

    Effective wound management strategies may include the use of topical advanced wound care products to help address the underlying issues of bioburden and inflammation. In a recent study, 100% of the 65 DFUs examined were found to contain biofilm.⁹ Effective wound management strategies may include the use of topical advanced wound care products to help address the underlying issues of biofilm, bioburden and inflammation.

  • Clinician applying 3M™ Promogran Prisma™ Matrix
    Collagen/Oxidized Regenerated Cellulose

    Manage Inflammation

    3M™ Promogran Prisma™ Collagen Matrix with ORC and Silver
    In the presence of exudate, Promogran Prisma Matrix transforms into a soft, conformable, biodegradable gel. In a Randomized Control Trial (RCT) on DFUs there were significantly fewer withdrawals from the study because of infection in the Promogran Prisma Matrix group compared with the control group (0% vs.31%, p = 0.012). The sum of matrix metalloproteinase-9 and elastase concentration was higher in non-responders compared with responders at baseline (p = 0.0705) and week 4 (p = 0.012). The results suggest that collagen/ORC/silver normalizes the wound microenvironment and protects against infection, resulting in improved wound healing.¹⁰

    In a 6-week RCT involving DFU patients (n=40), significantly more wounds achieved complete healing (63% [12/19] vs. 16% [3/19]) when treated with Promogran Prisma Matrix (p<0.03) compared to control treatment.¹¹

  • 3M™ Silvercel™ Non-Adherent Dressing being applied to a pressure ulcer on the sacrum

    Manage Infection

    3M™ Silvercel™ Non-Adherent Antimicrobial Alginate Dressing
    Silvercel Non-Adherent Dressing can help minimize damaging the wound bed, and minimize fibers or residues left behind after the dressing is removed¹². Silvercel Non-Adherent Dressing is effective against a broad spectrum of wound pathogens including Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus epidermidis and Vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus¹³ and protects newly formed tissue¹².

  • icon DFU with check mark on blue background

    Optimize the wound environment

    • Diabetic foot ulcers may be variable depth, partial to full thickness, and may involve tendons and bone. Exudate levels can range from low to high depending on multiple factors including wound size, depth, tissue type, lower extremity edema, and the presence or absence of tissue inflammation and infection.

    • Selecting products that help optimize the wound environment is important in wound healing. Things to consider include: maintaining an optimal environment through exudate management, providing protection from outside contaminants, and enabling easy application and removal.

    • NOTE: Specific indications, contraindications, warnings, precautions, and safety information exist for these products and therapies. Please consult a clinician and product Instructions for Use prior to application. This material is intended for healthcare professionals. Rx only.

  • clinician applying tegaderm to patient's heel and foot
    Low to high wound exudate

    Foam Dressings

    3M™ Tegaderm™ Silicone Foam Dressing
    Featuring 3M’s innovative silicone adhesive technology in a 5-layer foam dressing, the Tegaderm Silicone Foam Dressing is suitable for use on fragile skin and with compression therapy. Unique multi-layer design absorbs and evaporate moisture away from the skin’s surface, helping to minimize wound maceration and to maintain moisture balance for optimal wound healing.

  • Close up prodcut image of krramax care super absorbent dressing
    High to very high exuding wounds

    Super-Absorbent Wound Dressings

    3M™ Kerramax Care™ Super-Absorbent Dressing
    Offers an advanced method of absorbing exudate from wounds utilizing 3M™ Exu-Safe™ Technology built into the dressing core. This super-absorbent core absorbs and retains moderate to high levels of fluid away from the wound bed – including bacteria and MMPs – protecting delicate wound tissue and surrounding skin while helping to reduce the risk of maceration.

  • NPWT icon on blue background

    Negative pressure wound therapy

    • Based on wound assessment and clinical judgment, NPWT may be appropriate for DFU management, and 3M offers a portfolio of proven NPWT options that are indicated in the management of a variety of wounds, including venous insufficiency.

    • NOTE: Specific indications, contraindications, warnings, precautions, and safety information exist for these products and therapies. Please consult a clinician and product Instructions for Use prior to application. This material is intended for healthcare professionals. Rx only.
  • 3M™ ActiV.A.C.™ Therapy Unit with 3M™ Coban 2™ Two-Layer Compression
    Setting the standard for negative pressure wound therapy

    Traditional NPWT

    3M™ ActiV.A.C.™ Therapy System
    The ActiV.A.C. Therapy System is a portable NPWT device for the mobile patient, with features to help maintain the programmed pressure at the wound site and detect leaks.

    3M™ V.A.C.® Ulta Therapy System
    V.A.C.® Therapy can help to reduce hospitalization time and the risk of complication, which in turn helps facilitate patient transitions from inpatient to outpatient care settings.

    • 3M™ V.A.C.® Therapy
    • 3M™ Veraflo™ Therapy
    • 3M™ AbThera™ Therapy
    • 3M™ Prevena™ Therapy

    3M™ Veraflo™ Therapy System
    Veraflo Therapy combines the benefits of NPWT with automated instillation and dwell of topical wound solution to provide simultaneous cleansing and granulation tissue formation.

    3M™ Veraflo™ Cleanse Choice Complete™ Dressing Kit
    The Veraflo Cleanse Choice Complete Dressing Kit features a uniquely combined single layer foam that offers more versatility in dressing application, along with the gentle skin-friendly strength of the 3M™ Dermatac™ Drape. This powerful combination makes the dressing application and initiation of Veraflo Therapy easier than ever.

  • Clinician changing a dressing for Snap therapy system on a patients leg
    Designed to help manage wounds in challenging locations

    Single-use NPWT

    3M™ Snap™ Therapy System
    The Snap Therapy System is a disposable NPWT system that combines the simplicity of advanced wound dressings with the proven benefits of negative pressure wound therapy in a discreet design that allows patient mobility.

  • offloading icon on blue background

    Offloading - Help prevent further tissue damage and promote healing

    • Offloading is defined as pressure redistribution and repetitive shear reduction, and it helps prevent further tissue inflammation and damage, lessens the need for extremity amputations, and promotes the healing of existing ulcers.
    • Only 6% of DFU patients receive Total Contact Casting (TCC), the gold standard of care for offloading and promoting effective healing rates. Alternatives to TCC may include bed rest, removable cast walkers, healing sandals, surgical shoes, custom sandals, crutches, walkers and wheelchairs.¹⁴

Case Study Excerpt: Use of the Snap Therapy System to manage a calcaneal diabetic foot ulcer (DFU)

  • Close up of four diabetic foot uclers

    A 64-year-old male had a calcaneal abscess that had been continually worsening for three months, which necessitated excisional debridement of the necrotic tissue and preparation of a healthy wound bed to facilitate closure via grafting. Empiric antibiotics were initiated, and an MRI was ordered to image the lower extremity. Aggressive sharp excisional debridement was performed on the first day of presentation.

    The Snap Therapy System (-125 mm Hg; 150 ml canister) was applied over the debrided wound after complete removal of necrotic tissue and thorough irrigation. On day 5, a swab culture of the abscess revealed Staphylococcus aureus, and the patient continued the prescribed oral antibiotic regimen. Offloading with a knee scooter was recommended, and wound management continued with the Snap Therapy System. After 13 weeks, the ulcer had resolved.

    Figure A: DFU on calcaneus at presentation.
    Figure B: Wound at postoperative Day 5 after MRI diagnosis of osteomyelitis and initial treatment with the Snap Therapy System.
    Figure C: At 8 weeks, wound bed was prepared to receive define dHACM allograft, and treatment with the Snap Therapy System was discontinued.
    Figure D: At 13 weeks, the ulcer was completely resolved.

  • Read this (see page 16) and 11 additional case studies using the Snap Therapy System (PDF 3 MB))

    As with any case study, the results and outcomes should not be interpreted as a guarantee or warranty of similar results. Individual results may vary depending on the patient’s circumstances and condition.

    Patient data and photos courtesy of William H. Tettelbach, MD, FACP, CWS, Wound Care & Hyperbaric Medicine Clinical Services, Intermountain Healthcare, Salt Lake City, UT.

Randomized controlled trial: NPWT and advanced moist wound therapy comparison

  • two bar graph image

    The purpose of this study was to evaluate the safety and clinical efficacy of NPWT compared with advanced moist wound therapy (AMWT) to treat foot ulcers in diabetic patients.

    A multicenter randomized controlled trial enrolled 342 patients who were assigned to either NPWT (V.A.C.® Therapy) or AMWT (predominately hydrogels and alginates) and received standard offloading therapy as needed. The trial evaluated treatment until day 112 or ulcer closure by any means. Patients whose wounds achieved closure were followed at three and nine months.

    Primary Endpoint
    A greater percentage in the NPWT group (43.2% n=73/169) achieved wound closure within the 112-day active treatment period than those in the AMWT group (28.9% n=48/166).

    Key Finding
    NPWT appears to be as safe as and more efficacious than AMWT for the treatment of diabetic foot ulcers.¹⁵

  • Read this study (see page 17) and explore additional evidence for 3M DFU care solutions (PDF 5.6 MB)

    Explore the clinical evidence for:

    • DFU and Advanced Wound Dressings
    • DFU and Cavilon™ No Sting Barrier Film
    • DFU, Promogran Prisma Matrix
    • DFU and Negative Pressure Wound Therapy (NPWT)
    • DFU and Snap Therapy System
images left to right show: a pressure injury on adult heel, transparent film dressing on an infant hand, a patient with venous leg ulcer, a patient with diabetic foot ulcer.

Need help finding a wound care solution
in the care for your patients?

The 3M Wound Therapy Guide can help assist you in selecting a wound care solution for your patient based on the attributes and treatment objectives you choose. This guide is intended for use by clinicians in the United States for outpatient care.*

You may also view all treatment approaches without specific recommendations.

View References

NOTE: Specific indications, warning, precautions and safety information exist for all 3M products and therapies. Prior to use of any medical device, it is important for
the provider to consult the treating physician and read and understand all Instructions for Use, including Safety Information, Application Instructions, and Therapy
Device Instructions.

*Wound care product options are generated based on the application, preferences and wound characteristics selected. Other 3M products may also be suitable/available. It is
up to each clinician to assess whether any product will meet their wound care objectives. Any product identified through this guide is not intended to promote compatibility or
convey combined use unless expressly indicated, or intended to substitute for clinicians’ clinical judgment.

3M does not make any claims that its products prevent, treat, or reduce the incidence of infection. For specific 3M products, please refer to the Instructions for Use.

Selection aid results to be used in conjunction with good clinical practice; utilize appropriate debridement and/or antibiotics where necessary. Untreated osteomyelitis
is contraindicated for use with 3M™ V.A.C.® Therapy. 3M™ Cavilon™ Advanced Skin Protectant is compatible with 3M acrylic negative pressure drapes.

1. Reproduced from WoundSource ( © 2021 HMP Global, Inc. Used with permission.
2. Reproduced from Scottsdale Wound Management Guide ( © 2021 HMP Global, Inc. Used with permission.

© 2023 3M. All rights reserved. 3M and the other marks shown are marks and/or registered marks. Unauthorized use prohibited.

Training opportunities and DFU educational resources

Deepen your clinical expertise with training opportunities and educational resources designed especially for you. 3M webinars and archived events can help keep you up to date with the latest product guidelines and scientifically supported standards of care.

  • Thumbnail of the DFU course in a computer screen
  • DFUs: Optimize the Wound Environment

    Join Jeffrey A. Ross, DPM, MD to learn about his strategies for optimizing the wound environment. Dr. Ross will also share his case studies utilizing a Collagen/ORC/Silver-ORC dressing. Watch free webinar (35 min) by clicking one of the links below.

    Presenter: Jeffrey A. Ross, DPM, MD, FACFAS

    Viewing on desktop? Register/Login to view all courses

    Get the iOS app or the Android app to view all courses on mobile

  • Computer screen at desk with lamp and stack of books
    Develop with 3M℠ Health Care Academy

    Increase your knowledge of the latest techniques and training with the wide range of courses available on 3M Health Care Academy. Discover online learning that's right for you.

    Viewing on desktop? Register/Login to view all courses

    Get the iOS app or the Android app to view all courses on mobile

DFU resources for your patients

Share the following resources with your patients to provide guidance and help answer questions regarding DFUs.

  • Two page thumbnail of DFU patient guide
    • This guide provides a high-level overview of what your patients need to know about the identification, prevention, treatment, and trouble signs and risks associated with DFUs.

    • Download the DFU Patient Guide (PDF, 417 KB)

    • Important information: Patients should consult with their healthcare provider regarding their special conditions and treatments in addition to the information provided in this guide.

patient standing next to hospital bed and clinician kneeling next to patient assessing the wound therpy on patient leg

Choose the offloading care plan that’s right for your patient

Selecting an appropriate offloading care plan or device depends on a patient’s assessment, functional status, wound condition, and frequency of reassessment. We can help you determine what products fit best for each patient’s unique situation.


Explore 3M Solutions for different conditions

  • Help your patients stay fully engaged in daily activities and enjoy their quality of life with science-based compression therapy and skin integrity solutions.

    Learn more about managing edema and lymphedema

  • When pressure injuries can’t be avoided, establish a standard of care that treats the whole patient. 3M can help with solutions to support therapy goals established between you and your patients.

    Learn more about managing pressure injuries

  • Optimal outcomes start with early treatment and consistent management of traumatic wounds. Together, we can strive to reduce preventable complications, drive toward better outcomes and, ultimately, aspire to restore patients’ lives.

    Learn more about managing traumatic wounds

  • People living with chronic edema and VLUs want to engage fully in everyday activities - without feeling uncomfortable or self-conscious about what’s on their legs and feet. 3M can help manage challenges related to VLUs.

    Learn more about managing venous leg ulcers

Looking for more information?

  • 3M is committed to providing customer service, including product reimbursement education and resources, to clinical providers and healthcare facilities that use qualified 3M products.

  • We are here to help! Get in touch with our customer support team for advice about our products and how to use them.

  • View our advanced wound products and NPWT product portfolio and browse our product catalog.

  • Find Instructions for Use for specific 3M Health Care products.


1. Hingorani A, et al. The management of diabetic foot: A clinical practice guideline by the Society for Vascular Surgery in collaboration with the American Podiatric Medical Association and the Society for Vascular Medicine. J Vasc Surg. 2016 Feb;63(2 Suppl):3S-21S.

2. Giurato, L., Meloni, M., Izzo, V., & Uccioli, L. (2017). Osteomyelitis in diabetic foot: a comprehensive overview. World Journal of Diabetes, 8(4), 135.

3. Miller-Mikolajczyk, C.; MStat, R.J. Real world use: comparing early versus late initiation of negative pressure wound therapy on wound surface area reduction in patients at wound care clinics. Poster presented at The Wound Ostomy and Continence Nurses Society Annual Conference, June 22-26, 2013. Seattle, Washington.

4. Armstrong D, Boulton M.D., Bus S. Diabetic Foot Ulcers and Their Recurrence. N Engl J Med, 2017; 376;24.

5. International Best Practice Guidelines: Wound Management in Diabetic Foot Ulcers. Wounds International, 2013. Available from:

6. Schultz GS, Barillo DJ, Mozingo DW, Chin GA; Wound Bed Advisory Board Members. Wound bed preparation and a brief history of TIME. Int Wound J. 2004 Apr;1(1):19-32.

7.Bianchi, J. A. N. I. C. E. (2012). Protecting the integrity of the periwound skin. Wound Essentials, 7(1), 58–64.

8. Brennan, Mary R.; Milne, Catherine T.; Agrell-Kann, Marie; Ekholm, Bruce P. Clinical Evaluation of a Skin Protectant for the Management of Incontinence Associated Dermatitis: An Open-Label, Nonrandomized, Prospective Study. J of Wound,

9. Johani K, Malone M, Jensen S, Gosbell I, Dickson H, Hu H, Vickery K. Microscopy visualisation confirms multi-species biofilms are ubiquitous in diabetic foot ulcers. Int Wound J 2017; 14:1160-1169.

10. Gottrup F, Cullen B, Karlsmark T, Bischoff-Mikkelsen M, Nisbet L, Gibson M. Randomized controlled trial on collagen/oxidized regenerated cellulose /silver treatment. Wound Repair & Regeneration 2013; 21: 1-10.

11. Lazaro-Martinez JL, Garcia-Morales E, Beneit-Montesinos JV, Martinez-de-Jesus F, Aragon-Sanchez FJ. Randomized comparative trial of a collagen/oxidized regenerated cellulose dressing in the treatment of neuropathic diabetic foot ulcers. Cir Esp. 2007;82(1):27-31.

12. Data on file.

13. Data on file.

14. Fife CE, Carter MJ, Walker D. Why is it so hard to do the right thing in wound care? Wound Repair Regen. 2010 Mar-Apr;18(2):154-8

15. Blume PA, Walters J, Payne W, Ayala J, Lantis J. Comparison of negative pressure wound therapy using vacuum-assisted closure with advanced moist wound therapy in the treatment of diabetic foot ulcers - a multicenter randomized controlled trial. Diabetes Care. 2008;31(4):631-6.