New methods for evaluating physical and thermal comfort properties of orthotic materials used in insoles for patients with diabetes

Wai Ting Lo, Kit Lun Yick, Sun Pui Ng, Yiu Wan Yip

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Orthotic insoles are commonly used in the treatment of the diabetic foot to prevent ulcerations. Choosing suitable insole material is vital for effective foot orthotic treatment. We examined seven types of orthotic materials. In consideration of the key requirements and end uses of orthotic insoles for the diabetic foot, including accommodation, cushioning, and control, we developed test methods for examining important physical properties, such as force reduction and compression properties, insole-skin friction, and shear properties, as well as thermal comfort properties of fabrication materials. A novel performance index that combines various material test results together was also proposed to quantify the overall performance of the insole materials. The investigation confirms that the insole-sock interface has a lower coefficient of friction and shearing stress than those of the insole-skin interface. It is also revealed that material brand and the corresponding density and cell volume, as well as thickness, are closely associated with the performance of moisture absorption and thermal comfort. On the basis of the proposed performance index, practitioners can better understand the properties and performance of various insole materials, thus prescribing suitable orthotic insoles for patients with diabetic foot.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)311-324
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Rehabilitation Research and Development
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014


  • Diabetic foot
  • Friction
  • Insole materials
  • Orthotic insoles
  • Performance index
  • Physical properties
  • Pressure redistribution
  • Shearing
  • Thermal comfort properties
  • Ulceration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation

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