Chennai lab develops diabetic footwear
The footwear, which scientists say is a vast improvement on the existing MCR and MCP footwear prescribed for diabetics, is made after estimating the risk category of a patient through a specially designed computer software. CLRI developed the footwear in collaboration with MV Hospital for Diabetes and Diabetes Research Centre and Novo Nordisk Education Foundation.
MV Hospital for Diabetes head Dr Vijay Viswanathan said the footwear is for diabetics with either mild or moderate neuropathy, a dysfunction in peripheral nerves that can cause numbness or weakness. The CLRI labs have worked on features like rigid counter stiffener that can support the back of the feet and limit joint mobility and prevent shear stresses as well as fasteners that can be adjustable according to the foot volume. Such comfort factor was not there in the MCR and MCP footwear that have been available in the market for many years.
"MCR and MCP footwear were not designed the perfect way," said Dr Viswanathan. "They are more like rubber chappals with a toe grip. A person with neuropathy will not have any sensation or muscle power to hold to that grip. So, when more pressure is applied, the toes may bend," he explained.
The sole is made of polyurethane, with extra depth to provide a larger area for more effective pressure distribution, an outsole with special tread for better grip and traction, and an insole bed with layers of foam to provide added comfort and shock absorption for the wearer.
Scientists at the shoe design and development centre (SDDC) in CLRI said in addition they have provided a specially derived angle of slant in the sole to give the 'rocker' effect which is essential to offload pressure from the sole of the feet. Based on clinical examination and replies to a questionnaire, the software computes the 'diabetic risk threshold score' which would indicate to the diabetologist the exact risk category to which the patient belonged. "There are 10 clinical parameters including sensitivity, vibration threshold and sugar levels that measure the diabetes risk threshold score," the scientist said.
CLRI director SR Wate said that anyone with foot problems could use the footwear. Head of business process division at CLRI K Srinivasan said that the research institute is now looking for more manufacturers to take up license and develop the footwear.