3D printed insoles can be adapted for individual patients to reduce the risk of...
3D printed insoles can be adapted for individual patients to reduce the risk of foot ulcers.
Source: Staffordshire University

Diabetes: 3D printed insoles hope for patients

Scientists claim that new 3D printed insoles can significantly improve the foot health of people suffering with diabetes.

This study offers hope for millions of patients with diabetes who are at risk of developing foot ulcers, which in many cases end up in amputation. It presents the first quantitative evidence in support of optimised cushioning in diabetic footwear as part of standard clinical practice.

In their latest paper ["Optimised cushioning in diabetic footwear can significantly enhance their capacity to reduce plantar pressure"] published in Gait and Posture, researchers conclude that selecting the correct cushioning stiffness in footwear can significantly reduce pressures experienced on the feet which can lead to ulcers and other painful complications.

In the study carried out in Malta, 15 participants with diabetic foot disease were asked to walk in footwear fitted with made to measure 3D-printed insoles designed by the Centre for Biomechanics and Rehabilitation Technologies (CBRT) at Staffordshire University. These footbeds were used to change the stiffness of the entire sole across a spectrum of very soft to very stiff.

Dr Panagiotis Chatzistergos, Associate Professor at CBRT and the lead author of ths study said: “The optimum stiffness is clearly related to the patient’s body mass index (BMI). This study adds to our earlier findings and concludes that stiffer materials are needed for people with a higher BMI.”

Collaborators Dr Alfred Gatt and Dr Cynthia Formosa from the University of Malta and Visiting Fellows at CBRT provided clinical support for this study and led the experiments in Malta. Dr Gatt noted: “We hope that the results reported within this study will generate interest amongst all professionals managing this debilitating condition.”

Further work is now underway to develop a method to help professionals identify the optimum cushioning stiffness on a patient-specific basis. Professor Nachi Chockalingam, Director of CBRT and a co-inventor of the technology said “With numerous patients losing their limbs to diabetic foot disease, our research will help clinicians effectively manage this disease.”

Subscribe to our newsletter

Related articles

Smart insole monitors foot health for diabetic patients

Smart insole monitors foot health for diabetic patients

The smart insole can be inserted into a sneaker or dress shoe to passively monitor the foot health of a person living with diabetes.

Shoe insole against diabetic foot ulcers

Shoe insole against diabetic foot ulcers

Researchers have developed a shoe insole that could help make the healing process more portable for patients who develop ulcers as a result of diabetes.

Shoe sensor may help to prevent injuries

Shoe sensor may help to prevent injuries

Shoe sensors can show athletes, trainers where foot impacts are strongest to detect and correct inefficiencies in movement and reduce injuries, also can help diabetics avoid foot blisters.

Smart insole could detect an infection

Smart insole could detect an infection

Researchers are working on a smart insole that flags changes in a patient’s gait, activity level and balance, as well as monitors for the localized increase in heat that can reveal a building infection before the human eye can spot it.

Combining wearables and AI to predict the onset of health problems

Combining wearables and AI to predict the onset of health problems

A team found that applying artificial intelligence to the right combination of data retrieved from wearable technology may detect whether your health is failing.

Sensor for smart textiles survives hammers

Sensor for smart textiles survives hammers

An ultra-sensitive, resilient strain sensor that can be embedded in textiles and soft robotic systems survived being tested by a washing machine and a car.

E-textiles: Dyeing process gives electronic properties

E-textiles: Dyeing process gives electronic properties

Scientists have shown how smart textiles can be produced in a comparatively easy way, thus opening up new use cases.

3D printed transparent fibers can sense breath

3D printed transparent fibers can sense breath

Researchers used 3D printing techniques to make electronic fibres, each 100 times thinner than a human hair, creating sensors beyond the capabilities of conventional film-based devices.

Diabetes: Painless paper patch test uses microneedles

Diabetes: Painless paper patch test uses microneedles

Researchers have developed a microneedle patch for monitoring glucose levels using a paper sensor.

Popular articles