University a step closer to reducing diabetic foot amputation

Tuesday 13 November 2012

Scientists at Staffordshire University say they are close to creating a new smart material that could drastically cut the 6,000 foot amputations caused by diabetes here in the UK and thousands more across the world each year.

The new material will be used to make shoes that will help to redistribute the pressure under the foot that causes ulcers in diabetic patients and which often leads to foot amputation.

Professor of Clinical Biomechanics at Staffordshire University, Nachi Chockalingam, is leading the research, which is being conducted across several collaborating institutions in Malta, Germany, India, Spain and the UK.

The news comes as the International Diabetes Federation commemorates World Diabetes Day to raise awareness of the condition and its complications.

Professor Chockalingam said: “Patients suffering from diabetes are 20 times more likely to have an amputation and with approximately £120m of the NHS budget spent on amputations each year, breakthroughs in this area will make a significant difference to sufferers and to the health service.

“Research into the effects of footcare and footwear on diabetic patients is minimal at present. New studies are proving that not only is a patient’s choice of footwear key to his or her health, but that the choice of materials used in that footwear can further enhance the positive effects for the patient”.

“Following clinical trials which are currently taking place in India, as well as extensive research carried out in Germany and Malta, we will soon be in a position to report back on the findings of the material that we believe will help diabetes sufferers to safeguard their feet from issues that could lead to amputation – a common and distressing side effect of diabetes.”