Orthotic researchers at the University of Gothenburg, Sahlgrenska Academy, Sweden, concluded that shoe inserts, podiatry and regular checkups, and other simple interventions can reduce the number of foot ulcers in people with diabetes by more than 50 percent.
With the goal of protecting the foot from overloading of the foot sole to minimize the risk of ulcers, researchers studied 114 Swedish patients with diabetes and at risk of developing foot ulcers. The study participants were, on average, 58 years old and 12 years removed from their initial diabetes diagnosis. Each participant wore one of three different types of shoe inserts over a period of two years.
Only 0.9 percent of the participants developed new foot ulcers during the first year, as opposed to 3-8 percent for similar diabetic populations. The study also revealed that only 67 percent of diabetes patients had been offered treatment for their feet, despite the fact that 83 percent had calluses.
“We found that good shoes and inserts can reduce pressure on the foot by [more than] 50 percent compared with going barefoot,” doctoral student Ulla Tang said.
The researchers are scheduled to present their findings at the International Society for Prosthetics and Orthotics (ISPO) 2013 World Congress in Hyderabad, India, slated for February 4-7.