New Silicone Insoles can Provide Healing for Diabetic Ulcers

photo of a prototype of new silicone insole

A diabetic’s ulcers can heal throughout the day by wearing this silicone-based rubber insole. (Purdue University image/Kayla Wiles)

Here at Park Crescent we like to talk about new ways to treat non-healing wounds, because we’re proud of our excellent wound care program. Our advanced center is one of the best in the northern New Jersey area, and we’ve had remarkable results in healing chronic open wounds.

A research team at Purdue University College of Engineering have designed and developed shoe insoles to help accelerate wound healing—while allowing for mobility at the same time.

About Diabetic Foot Ulcers

One of the most common complications of diabetes are foot wounds or ulcers. The high levels of blood sugar that characterize diabetes can damage the nerves over time. This causes a condition called peripheral neuropathy, the most common form of diabetic nerve damage. Peripheral neuropathy affects the feet and legs first, causing the following symptoms:

  • Numbness or reduced ability to feel pain or temperature changes
  • Tingling or burning sensation
  • Sharp pains or cramps
  • Increased sensitivity to touch
  • Muscle weakness
  • Loss of reflexes, especially in the ankle
  • Loss of balance and coordination
  • Serious foot problems, such as ulcers, infections, and bone and joint pain

People with peripheral neuropathy need to be vigilant against infections. If you have peripheral neuropathy, you should check your feet every single day for any injuries or wounds, no matter how small. That’s because you won’t feel these injuries until they become very large and possibly infected.

Diabetic ulcers can’t heal on their own. That’s where wound care program’s like Park Crescent’s top-rated program come in. We apply a number of interventions to heal the wound, with excellent results.

Now we’re thrilled to learn about this new custom insole developed by Purdue University researchers. When it eventually reaches the market, we’re sure it will provide our patients with a whole other level of independence while healing.

About the New Insole

“One of the ways to heal [diabetic] wounds is by giving them oxygen,” said Babak Ziaie, Purdue professor of electrical and computer engineering, and one of the study’s authors. “We’ve created a system that gradually releases oxygen throughout the day so that a patient can have more mobility.”

The scientists image the patient’s foot, including the ulcer, and use lasers to shape silicone into insoles. The insoles have reservoirs that release oxygen only in the area of the foot around the ulcer. The insole delivers oxygen for at least eight hours a day, and can be customized to take on any weight.

“This is mass-customization at low cost,” said Vaibhav Jain, another researcher on the team.

More testing must be done before this product can reach the market, but the researchers envision an easily customized insole, obtained by doctor’s prescription. Manufactures could send pre-filled, customized insoles based on the patient’s wound profile and a photo of their foot.

At Park Crescent, we certainly hope this product can become a reality, helping millions of people with diabetic ulcers lead a more productive and fulfilling life.

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