Method for in-shoe shear stress measurement

A methodology is described for use of a shear transducer, based on a magneto-resistive principle, to measure stresses under the plantar surface of the foot in-shoe during walking. Particular attention is paid to a projected application for study of diabetic plantar ulceration and its management by footwear. The transducer has a disc construction, approximately 4 mm thick by 16 mm diameter, and measures two orthogonal axes of shear simultaneously; this disc is mounted into an inlay that can be inserted into any stock orthopaedic shoe of the type commonly prescribed for diabetic foot problems. The transducer is located in the metatarsal head region of the inlay; exact placement of the transducer is determined by reference to the direct pressure distribution, the common method of palpation shown to be imprecise. Pilot trials on normal subjects are presented to evaluate the method.

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