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Footwear and Balance in Diabetics

by MASS4D® Prescription Orthotics December 05, 2016


A dynamic, patient-centric article entitled “Does Footwear Affect Balance?” by Paton et al was published in the Journal of the American Podiatric Association in Nov/Dec 2013.

This study looked at the relationship between footwear and balance in people with diabetes and neuropathy.

One is compelled to read this article with the noted statistics of 39% of older diabetics falling annually, increasing to 54% when foot ulcerations are in the patient history and another 15% increase in falls when neuropathy is involved.

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Although fall risk is significant in this population, this study focused on generalised balance enhancement or challenges related directly to footwear choices.

Participants in this study were interviewed and most reported unhappiness with therapeutic footwear due to heavy weight and slippery soles, while preferring lightweight sandals with Velcro fastening, moulded foot beds and rubber outer soles.

Regarding shoe fit, participants strongly preferred tight fitting shoes with well treaded soles. This type of shoe seemed to provide both physical and psychological benefit for the wearer.

There was an overwhelming agreement from participants that their shoe choices were not contributory to their falls, however most stopped wearing the shoes used at the time of the fall.

It is thought that this decision was psychological and boosted confidence going forward for the wearer.

Future research recommended by the authors includes investigating the effects of the participant’s recommendations.

Copyright 2016 MASS4D® All rights reserved. 

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  1. Joanne S. Paton, Anne Roberts, Graham K. Bruce, Jon Marsden (2013) Does Footwear Affect Balance? The Views and Experiences of People with Diabetes and Neuropathy Who Have Fallen. Journal of the American Podiatric Medical Association: November/December 2013, Vol. 103, No. 6, pp. 508-515

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