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Disrupting the vicious cycle of healthcare decline in Diabetic Foot Ulceration through active prevention: The future of self-managed care

Chief Investigator: Dr Andrew Weightman – University of Manchester

Project Team Members: Dr Katherine Bradbury – University of Southampton, Professor Helen Dawes – University of Exeter, Mr Andrew Eccles – University of Strathclyde, Dr Safak Dogan – Loughborough University, Dr Glen Cooper – University of Manchester, Professor Frank Bowling – University of Manchester, Dr Xiyu Shi, Loughborough University,  Professor Ahmeet Kondoz– Loughborough University

Organisations Involved: Diabetes UK


There is a significant unmet clinical need for an adaptable, acceptable and adoptable technology to identify and prevent diabetic foot ulcer (DFU) formation, to enable self-management and timely clinical intervention to improve outcomes and reduce the economic burden of healthcare provision.

Our primary purpose is to develop and implement an adaptable, acceptable, and cost- effective smart sensing insole technology which can detect when a DFU is likely to occur and can adapt plantar tissue loading to prevent formation, thus enabling self-management.

This project proposes to build and expand on current smart insole technologies for the detection of DFUs, utilising a sensor fusion approach for their identification.

A smart insole with integrated pressure (normal, shear), temperature, gait (IMU) and mechanomyography (acoustic) sensors will identify early indicators of ulceration and when movement is appropriate/inappropriate. The smart insole will respond to these inputs and adjust the foot (and gait), through an array of artificial muscles, to support better (safe/ comfortable) movement. This project aims to co-develop this new smart sensing insole with people living with diabetic foot ulcers.

We hope to establish:

• What patients think of the idea of a smart sensing insole for early detection of DFUs which includes the provision to adjust the foot to reduce pressure on areas of likely ulceration.

• A prototype insole and optimised this with patient feedback.

• Early safety testing of this device.

• Security protocols to enable secure storage and sharing of data from this insole (e.g., between patient and clinicians).