Virtually optimized insoles for offloading the diabetic foot: a randomized crossover study

S. Telfer*, J. Woodburn, A. Collier, P.R. Cavanagh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

242 Downloads (Pure)


Integration of objective biomechanical measures of foot function into the design process for insoles has been shown to provide enhanced plantar tissue protection for individuals at-risk of plantar ulceration. The use of virtual simulations utilizing numerical modeling techniques offers a potential approach to further optimize these devices. In a patient population at-risk of foot ulceration, we aimed to compare the pressure offloading performance of insoles that were optimized via numerical simulation techniques against shape-based devices. Twenty participants with diabetes and at-risk feet were enrolled in this study. Three pairs of personalized insoles: one based on shape data and subsequently manufactured via direct milling; and two were based on a design derived from shape, pressure, and ultrasound data which underwent a finite element analysis-based virtual optimization procedure. For the latter set of insole designs, one pair was manufactured via direct milling, and a second pair was manufactured through 3D printing. The offloading performance of the insoles was analyzed for forefoot regions identified as having elevated plantar pressures. In 88% of the regions of interest, the use of virtually optimized insoles resulted in lower peak plantar pressures compared to the shape-based devices. Overall, the virtually optimized insoles significantly reduced peak pressures by a mean of 41.3 kPa (p < 0.001, 95% CI [31.1, 51.5]) for milled and 40.5 kPa (p < 0.001, 95% CI [26.4, 54.5]) for printed devices compared to shape-based insoles. The integration of virtual optimization into the insole design process resulted in improved offloading performance compared to standard, shape-based devices.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)157-161
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Biomechanics
Early online date24 Jun 2017
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jul 2017


  • 3D printing
  • diabetic foot disease
  • finite element analysis
  • insoles


Dive into the research topics of 'Virtually optimized insoles for offloading the diabetic foot: a randomized crossover study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this