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  • Making orthopaedic shoes lighter

    Wearing orthopaedic shoes helps to minimize the effects of arterial disease/diabetes. Diabetes first presents in the feet of clients and proper orthopaedic shoes can delay the negative effects of the condition, but it is important that clients make optimum use of these shoes.

    Weight reduction thanks to a light-weight carbon spring plate.

    Weight reduction thanks to a light-weight carbon spring plate.

    An ageing population and an increasing incidence of ‘the diseases of affluence’ mean that the average age of clientsneeding orthopaedic footwear is rising, and that comorbidity features more frequently. One of the main reasons that older clients shy away from wearing orthopaedic footwear is the sheer bulk of the shoes on offer. This is less of a problem in low-grade orthopaedic shoes, which are generally prescribed for less serious conditions. New technology and product development mean that these shoes are increasingly designed to resemble the regular shoes available in the shops. However, this is not the case for high-grade orthopaedic shoes, which are prescribed for more serious conditions and include various built-in functions. On the whole, these shoes are much bulkier than the low-grade shoes, despite the fact that the weight of the shoes is often enough to put this particular target group off wearing them, which obviously has serious implications. The aim of this project is to make high-grade orthopaedic shoes at least 20% lighter by modifying the design and production process parameters.

    Aim of the project:

    • To better understand how people’s feet change shape as they grow older.
    • To assess whether the design of current ready-to-wear shoes such as those made by Durea suits the shape of older people’s feet.
    • To modify lasts to achieve the best possible fit for ready-to-wear shoes, and to design new last models for shoes that are suitable for particular disorders such as Hallux Valgus.
    • To understand changes in the pressure patterns, particularly the development of peak plantar pressure, on the soles of people’s feet as they age.
    • To develop new insoles to accommodate peak plantar pressure.