Towards low-cost, aesthetic footwear for diabetics

To prevent a growing number of amputations among diabetic patients in India, M.V. Hospital for Diabetes, Royapuram, is partnering with the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and the International Working Group of the Diabetic Foot to develop low-cost, aesthetic diabetic footwear for low income countries.

“Studies have shown that a majority of amputations are caused due to foot infections. In India, this is exacerbated by the fact that many people walk barefoot. Correct footwear is absolutely essential for high-risk patients to avoid amputations,” said Vijay Viswanathan, head and chief diabetologist of the hospital, on Saturday.

A small ulcer which is ignored, could eventually, with wrong footwear, become worse and in some cases, lead to amputation. Globally, about 50 per cent of diabetics will have an ulcer in their lifetime, said Kristien Van Acker, global chair of the International Working Group on Diabetic Foot. “If you have a high risk of developing an ulcer or have an early-stage ulcer, it is a human right to have adaptive footwear. This is the basic treatment to prevent an amputation,” she said, adding that an amputation often led to a loss of livelihood for an entire family.

“There is almost no data on the number of amputations taking place in the country due to diabetes. While we know that the number is large, we need to collect data for research, and this initiative will help with that,” said Dr. Viswanathan said.

Studies have shown that a majority of amputations are due to foot infections.

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