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Med Eng Phys. 2014 Jan;36(1):9-15. doi: 10.1016/j.medengphy.2013.08.002. Epub 2013 Aug 24.

Personalized foot orthoses with embedded temperature sensing: Proof of concept and relationship with activity.

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Institute for Applied Health Research, School of Health and Life Sciences, Glasgow Caledonian University, UK. Electronic address:
School of Mechanical and Systems Engineering, Newcastle University, UK.
Peacocks Medical Group Ltd., Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.
Institute for Applied Health Research, School of Health and Life Sciences, Glasgow Caledonian University, UK.


Plantar foot surface temperature has been identified as a clinically relevant physiological variable. Embedding sensors in foot orthoses (FOs) may allow long term monitoring of these temperatures, with compliance via the detection of periods of activity being a potential clinical utilization. This study aimed to test novel designs for FOs with embedded sensing that were produced via additive manufacturing and determine if foot temperature measurements could be used to detect periods of increased activity. FOs with embedded temperature sensors were developed and tested in 10 healthy participants over four day wear periods. Activity monitoring was used to estimate energy expenditure during testing. A threshold-based algorithm was developed to identify time periods of high activity from foot temperature data. Group differences in estimated energy expenditure between time periods below and above the threshold were significant in both the training and validation sets (p<0.001). Significant differences were also seen at individual participant level (p<0.001 in all cases). These results demonstrate the feasibility of using FOs with embedded sensing to monitor plantar surface foot temperatures during normal daily activities and for extended periods and show that periods of increased activity can be identified using foot temperature data.


Activity monitoring; Additive manufacture; Foot orthoses; Foot temperatures

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