A comparative study of the Podotrack, a simple semiquantitative plantar pressure measuring device, and the optical pedobarograph in the assessment of pressures under the diabetic foot

Aims: To test the Podotrack, a simple inexpensive semiquantitative footprint mat, for potential use as a screening tool for high plantar pressures, against the optical pedobarograph (a computerized device).

Methods: The Podotrack was superimposed on the pedobarograph for simultaneous measurement of pressures from both systems. Three independent observers quantified the pressures of Podotrack footprints from healthy controls and diabetic patients, both before (n=164) and after (n=183) training. The sensitivity of the Podotrack to identify high pressure areas measured by the pedobarograph (> 12.3 kg/cm2) was 78.7%, 45.8% and 44.3% (observer A, B and C) before training, but improved to 96.2%, 92.4% and 91.1% after training (P<0.01). Specificity for all three observers was more than 90% before and after training. Inter-observer agreement improved significantly after training (P<0.001).

Conclusion: After a simple training of the observers, the Podotrack identified approximately all high pressure areas, suggesting that the Podotrack could be a useful screening tool to identify areas at risk of ulceration in diabetic patients. We recommend a standard training package for new Podotrack users, to optimize identification of diabetic patients at risk of foot ulceration.

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