Daryl Lawson, PT, DSc, associate professor of physical therapy at Western Michigan University, and Christopher Arena, PhD, associate professor of biomedical engineering at Virginia Tech, developed a boot that offloads pressure on diabetic foot ulcers (DFUs) and delivers a combination of heat and electrical stimulation to increase blood flow and speed the healing process. Initial research shows the boot’s combination of heat and electrical stimulation increased blood perfusion at the foot in people with diabetes more than 186 percent.
“The purpose was to combine both of those elements to treat people at home or an assisted nursing facility and be able to monitor people to make sure they never get to the point of amputation,” said Lawson. “It can be a challenge for seniors to learn and function using a prosthetic. So if you can prevent an amputation and heal the wound, a person can return to their normal functional activity.”
Lawson and his physical therapy students have completed a pilot project confirming the boot’s healing properties. The next phase of the project will involve clinical trials to collect more data from patients with a goal of submitting successful results to the FDA for approval and generating funding to move into the commercialization phase.
The team estimate the SenLore boot could be available to patients in 2023.
Editor’s note: This story was adapted from materials provided by Western Michigan University.
Photograph of the research team testing the SenLore boot prototype courtesy of Western Michigan University.