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New insoles to treat diabetic ulcers

A new show insole has been developed by Purdue University in order to help prevent amputation of toes, feet and legs of diabetics who are currently suffering from diabetic ulcers. The insoles have been designed to slowly release oxygen to the foot, which in turn heals the ulcers and allows the user to be able to regain more mobility. 

Diabetic ulcers are caused by damaged nerves which causes skin tissue to disintegrate as well as the lack of feeling, meaning that damage to the foot can go unnoticed, and therefore doesn’t receive the appropriate treatment. 

“We typically treat ulcers by removing devitalised tissue from the surface of the wound, and by helping the patient to find ways to take the weight off the affected foot,” said Desmond Bell, a podiatrist in wound management and amputation prevention at the Memorial Hospital in Jacksonville, Florida, and the founder of the Save a Leg, Save a Life Foundation.

“The gold standard for treating an ulcer is a patient wearing a total-contact cast, which provides a protective environment for the foot. If we could test how well this insole delivers oxygen to the wound site from within the cast, then this could be a way of aiding the healing process,” he said.

“Silicone is flexible and has good oxygen permeability,” said Hongjie Jiang, a postdoctoral researcher in electrical and computer engineering. “Laser machining helps us to tune that permeability and target just the wound site, which is hypoxic, rather than poison the rest of the foot with too much oxygen.”

Designed primarily for users between 53-81kg, the new insole if fully customisable, and can be custom created for users of all weights. The next step in this discovery is finding a way to 3D print the entire insole at once, rather than using a laser printer and a mould. 

Read more here: The Engineer

Photo Credit: The Engineer

Details

Category

engineering

Date

November 16, 2018

Author

Sally

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