The self-cooling shoe that could reduce amputations

December 14, 2015

By Alex Branch

Metin Yavuz

 

A Health Science Center researcher is creating an innovative shoe that could help prevent dangerous foot ulcers in people with diabetes.

Metin Yavuz, DEng, Assistant Professor of Physical Therapy, has developed a working prototype of a shoe fixed with an electronic cooling system. It’s designed to keep foot tissues from heating to temperatures that can contribute to the development of ulcers.

Foot ulcers are a common and costly problem for people with diabetes.  Up to a quarter of diabetics develop an ulcer in their lifetimes, leading to about 100,000 amputations at a cost of $30 billion annually in the United States. People with diabetes often lose sensation in their feet and don’t feel pain from developing wounds.

“We’re basically turning on the A/C inside the shoe,” Dr. Yavuz said. “So far, the results are promising that this could be an effective way to prevent foot ulcers.”

The majority of research into foot ulcers focuses on how pressure that occurs on the foot while walking contributes to ulceration. But Dr. Yavuz is researching the roles of frictional forces and temperature, and how controlling those factors may prevent ulcers.

Using data from his National Institute of Health-funded study, he showed that most diabetic ulcers develop at locations that experience the largest frictional forces. He and his team also studied how elevated temperatures found in the feet of people with diabetes accelerate tissue breakdown. In November, his groundbreaking work was published in two different articles by the journal Diabetes Care.

Regardless of weather conditions, the shoe developed by Dr. Yavuz and research assistant Linda Adams can maintain a temperature around 75 degrees Fahrenheit on the sole of the foot, which could otherwise reach 100 degrees in diabetic people.  By controlling temperatures, the foot tissue should suffer less damage.

Dr. Yavuz recently received a nearly $500,000 grant from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases to further his research.

“Foot ulcers are an enormous problem and development of a novel shoe that could help prevent them has long been a goal of mine,” Dr. Yavuz said. “There is still a lot of work left to do, but we’re making progress.”

Iman Zidan
Goldman Scholar dreams of owning a pharmacy and helping the underserved

By Krista Roberts Iman Zidan has big aspirations. Her ultimate goal is to own her own pharmacy to serve the less fortunate. “I continue to push myself everyday so that I am one step closer to successfully serving and giving back to my community as a future pharmacist,” she said.  ...Read more

Oct 20, 2020

John H. Harakal, D.O.
50 Heroes: John H. Harakal, D.O.

Students in the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine graduate with a thorough, hands-on knowledge of the musculoskeletal system – a knowledge that is hugely beneficial regardless of practice specialty or research focus. While that knowledge is foundational to osteopathic medicine, th...Read more

Oct 19, 2020

default photo
TCOM faculty, students and alumni honored by AOF

By Steven Bartolotta A top-flight career of quality, compassion and excellence received an exclamation point as the American Osteopathic Foundation named Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine’s Dr. Janice Knebl the 2020 Physician of the Year. Dr. Knebl, TCOM’s Interim Chair of Internal M...Read more

Oct 19, 2020

Dr. Stephan Davis
MHA Program Director Dr. Stephan Davis contributes to national diversity, equity and inclusion report

By Sally Crocker  The Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation, with contributions from the HSC School of Public Health, has released a set of recommendations for building a culture of fairness, respect and inclusion in health professions learning environments.  SPH Assistant Professor and MHA Pro...Read more

Oct 16, 2020