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Foot Ankle Int. 2012 Sep;33(9):772-8.

Effect of heating on the mechanical properties of insole materials.

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Baylor University Medical Center, Dallas, TX 75246, USA.



The most common method of customizing shoe insoles to the shape and surface of the foot is to heat and then mold the materials. The effect of heating on the mechanical properties of these materials is unknown.


The properties of individual and common combinations of insole materials were tested before and after heating. Individual materials tested were soft Plastazote (SP), medium Plastazote (MP), Puff (F), and Nickelplast (N); combinations of materials that were tested were SP + F and MP + F, each with and without Poron (P). Three samples of each were tested five times. Materials were heated and then compressed with an MTS servohydraulic device. Load transmission and percent compression at maximal load were measured on single materials and their combinations. Stress-strain curves were measured.


Compared to unheated material, the heated material transmitted higher forces. After heating, the combinations transmitted maximal load at a lower percentage of compression (i.e., became stiffer). Heating also changed the stress-strain curves of the three-material combinations, causing them to transmit maximal pressure at a lower strain.


Heating insole materials changed their mechanical properties. The materials became stiffer and less effective in the attenuation of applied forces.


The common practice of heating insole materials to improve their contact with the foot reduced the pressure-reducing properties of the materials, which may decrease their clinical effectiveness.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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