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J Diabetes Complications. 2011 Jan-Feb;25(1):52-62. doi: 10.1016/j.jdiacomp.2009.09.002. Epub 2009 Oct 23.

Effectiveness of insoles used for the prevention of ulceration in the neuropathic diabetic foot: a systematic review.

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University of Plymouth, Plymouth, Devon, UK.



Ulceration can be a debilitating and costly complication of the neuropathic diabetic foot. Insoles inserted into footwear are routinely used in clinical practice to help to prevent ulceration. AIM AND SCOPE OF THE REVIEW: This review evaluated the effectiveness of insoles used for the prevention of ulcer in the neuropathic diabetic foot.


Databases were searched from inception to 2008, supplemented by hand searching of references and grey literature. Data extraction and methodological quality assessment were independently conducted by two reviewers following the recommendations of the Centre for Reviews and Dissemination.


A total of five trials met the inclusion criteria: two randomised control trials (RCTs), two case control studies, and one follow-up study. The methodological quality of the majority of studies was poor. Omitted details regarding the generalisability of results made study comparison and inference to practice difficult. There is a small amount of limited evidence indicating that insoles are effective in reducing incidence of ulceration and reducing plantar peak pressures in the diabetic neuropathic foot. No study included economic analysis or patient-based outcome measures.


Insoles appear of use for the prevention of neuropathic diabetic foot ulceration, although evidence is limited. Clinical recommendation regarding type and specification of insole is not possible at this time. There is an essential need for a large well-designed RCT comparing different types of commonly used insole for the prevention of ulceration in the diabetic neuropathic foot. Outcome measures should include patient perceptions of the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness analysis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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