University announces European project to develop new generation of Diabetic Footwear

Monday 31 October 2011

AN £800,000 European research project which aims to develop new footwear for sufferers of diabetes is underway at Staffordshire University.

A team of scientists, led by Staffordshire University’s Professor of Biomechanics Nachi Chockalingam, will spend the next three years developing and testing the footwear which is intended to improve the lives of people suffering with diabetes.

Professor Chockalingam said: “We have been conducting studies in the area of diabetic footwear for the past few years. The products resulting from this pioneering project aims to significantly affect the course of the disease and reduce the risk of limb loss in patients with diabetes - the most frequent cause of non-traumatic lower-limb amputations.

“We’re working to develop materials and footwear which will distribute the pressure of the foot more evenly and thereby reduce the incidents of foot ulcers and the serious medical complications arising from that.”

He added: “This project is an effective way for the University to develop budding researchers while promoting collaboration and knowledge transfer between academic researchers and industry.”

The European Commission-funded project entitled “Development of a new generation of DIABetic footwear using an integrated approach and SMART materials (DiaBSmart)” involves four other partners.

An institution in Germany will be working to develop SMART new materials building on the knowledge of specialist footwear manufacturers in Birmingham and Spain. The resulting products will then be tested in India which has the highest incidence of diabetes in the world and where the disease is growing at a rapid rate.

Professor Chockalingam added: “With the dramatic increase of incidence in Diabetes, our research projects aim at improving the lives and wellbeing of individuals in the community.

“This approach is unique and brings together the expertise from research institutions, industry and hospitals. It will also have a clear impact on new product development leading to both clinical and economic benefits.”

Organisations involved in the project in addition to Staffordshire University are: (1) Hochschule Magdeburg-Stendal FH. Germany; (2) Salts Healthcare Limited, Birmingham, United Kingdom; (3) Technofootbed SL, Spain and (4) AR Hospitals, Chennai, India.

DiaBSmart is led by Staffordshire University and funded by the European Commission through Grant Agreement Number 285985 under Industry Academia Partnerships and Pathways program.

Staffordshire University provides postgraduate and continuing professional development courses in the area of clinical biomechanics and podiatric biomechanics.

As Professor of Clinical Biomechanics in the Faculty of Health, Nachi directs the Movement Analysis Laboratory and leads the biomechanics team. His research interests span biomechanics and gait analysis and he has a special interest in foot and footwear biomechanics.