Australian researchers are trialling shoe insoles to improve the balance of people with type 2 diabetes and diabetic peripheral neuropathy.
The insoles will also be used to try and improve walking and physical activity, with researchers hoping they can improve the quality of life of those with diabetes and neuropathy (nerve damage) who struggle to achieve independence.
Diabetic neuropathy can often cause significant problems with movement, and is generally caused by long-term poor control of blood glucose levels. Achieving better blood sugar control can be extremely beneficial in lessening the severity of neuropathy.
The study will involve participants wearing a pair of shoe insoles for four weeks and a tiny activity monitor on their leg for two separate weeks. It will be led by Dr Anna Hatton from The University of Queensland’s School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences.
Hatton hopes the findings can be practical significance for people with diabetes and neuropathy worldwide, who often have problems with balance, walking and physical activity.
“Using shoe insoles to correct balance and walking problems in people with diabetic peripheral neuropathy could lead to meaningful change to people’s independence in their daily lives,” she said.
“Diabetic peripheral neuropathy, a consequence of diabetes, can increase the risk of falls and serious injuries requiring hospitalisation.
“The quality of signals transmitted from the feet to the brain when damaged, disrupt the vital cues required to help people remain upright.”
People are eligible for the study if they are aged 18 or over, have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and diabetic peripheral neuropathy (nerve damage in the feet) and can walk a distance of 20 meters with or without an assistive device.
The study will be based at UQ’s St Lucia campus. It is currently unknown as to when the first results from the study can be expected.

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