Background: Diabetic foot ulcers (DFUs) are the chronic, non-healing complications of
diabetic mellitus which compels a significant burden to the patients and the healthcare system. Peripheral
vascular disease, diabetic neuropathy, and abnormal cellular and cytokine/chemokine activity are
among the prime players which exacerbate the severity and prevent wound repair. Unlike acute
wounds, DFUs impose a substantial challenge to the conventional wound dressings and demand the
development of novel and advanced wound healing modalities. In general, an ideal wound dressing
should provide a moist wound environment, offer protection from secondary infections, eliminate
wound exudate and stimulate tissue regeneration.
Objective: To date, numerous conventional wound dressings are employed for the management of
DFUs but there is a lack of absolute and versatile choice. The current review was therefore aimed to
summarize and critically discuss the available evidences related to pharmaceutical and therapeutic viability
of polymer-based dressings for the treatment of DFUs.
Results: A versatile range of naturally-originated polymers including chitosan (CS), hyaluronic acid
(HA), cellulose, alginate, dextran, collagen, gelatin, elastin, fibrin and silk fibroin have been utilized
for the treatment of DFUs. These polymers have been used in the form of hydrogels, films, hydrocolloids,
foams, membranes, scaffolds, microparticles, and nanoparticles. Moreover, the wound healing
viability and clinical applicability of various mutually modified, semi-synthetic or synthetic polymers
have also been critically discussed.
Conclusion: In summary, this review enlightens the most recent developments in polymer-based
wound dressings with special emphasis on advanced polymeric biomaterials, innovative therapeutic
strategies and delivery approaches for the treatment of DFUs.