Offloading effect of therapeutic footwear in patients with diabetic neuropathy at high risk for plantar foot ulceration

M. L. J. Arts, R. Waaijman, M. de Haart, R. Keukenkamp, F. Nollet, S. A. Bus

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30 Citations (Scopus)


Diabet. Med. 29, 15341541 (2012) Abstract Aims Custom-made therapeutic footwear is often prescribed to patients with diabetic neuropathy, foot deformity and a healed plantar foot ulcer. Offloading these feet is important to prevent ulcer recurrence. The aim was to evaluate the offloading effect of custom-made footwear in these patients. Methods In 171 patients with diabetic neuropathy (336 feet) with foot deformity and a recently healed plantar foot ulcer, plantar pressures walking barefoot and inside new custom-made footwear were measured. At the previous ulcer location and at locations of highest barefoot pressure attributable to the deformity, in-shoe pressures were compared with non-deformed feet. The footwear was considered effective in offloading when in-shoe peak pressure at these locations was <200 kPa. Results Mean in-shoe peak pressures ranged between 211 and 308 kPa in feet with forefoot deformity (vs. 191222 kPa in non-deformed feet) and between 140 and 187 kPa in feet with midfoot deformity (vs. 112 kPa in non-deformed feet). Offloading was effective in 61% of all feet with deformity, 81% of feet with midfoot deformity, 44% of feet with forefoot deformity and 62% of previous ulcer locations. Inter-subject variability in measured in-shoe plantar pressure was large. Conclusions Offloading in custom-made footwear is often not sufficiently achieved in high-risk diabetic feet with deformity. Highest offloading success rates were seen at known high-risk locations such as previous ulcer locations and Charcot feet, the lowest success rates in forefoot deformities. Together with the large inter-subject variability in pressure outcomes, this emphasizes the need for evidence-based prescription and evaluation procedures to assure adequate offloading
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1534-1541
JournalDiabetic medicine
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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