DIABETICS could be offered a vital breakthrough in avoiding complications which can lead to leg amputations using a device from a Yorkshire company that was originally pioneered to soothe the aching feet of workers facing long periods standing up.
New research by experts has found the specialist insoles could help prevent diabetics developing foot ulcers.
The problem, caused by poor blood circulation, affects around one in six diabetics and can go on to lead to patients losing limbs.
Figures show more than 70 amputations are carried out on diabetics each week in England although 80 per cent are believed to be preventable with better foot care.
Researchers believe the gel-filled insoles pioneered by Autonomed Ltd, based at Bramham, near Wetherby, could help to cut complications.
Its managing director, David Watt, saw his late father suffer amputation of both legs as a result of poor circulation due to vascular disease.
He said: “This research is of far-reaching importance for a diabetes community which is growing at a rate of 100,000 people each year and also the increasing population with vascular disease.
“It could transform their care – saving taxpayers’ money, reducing the risk of ulcers and amputation and quite literally potentially saving lives.”
Tests among 21 mainly elderly diabetics carried out by experts in Scotland, published in The British Journal of Diabetes and Vascular Disease, found that by using the insoles, forefoot pressure, which is a major cause of ulcers, was reduced by 22 per cent.
After less than two weeks’ use, oxygen flow to the tissues of the feet had improved by a “clinically-significant” five per cent. Experts say it is the first time an insole has been proved to enhance circulation.
Research co-author Duncan Stang, national diabetes foot care coordinator for Scotland, based at Hairmyres Hospital in East Kilbride, said: “Around one in six people with diabetes will suffer from foot ulceration in their lifetime and it is estimated that 80 per cent of amputations in people with diabetes are preceded by a foot ulcer.”
The Liqua Care insoles, which have been patented worldwide, cost £27.75 a pair and are available by calling 0870 041 0150 or by visiting www.autonomed.co.uk.