Aims: Diabetic patients with podopathy (diabetic foot syndrome) may need protective footwear, be it customized or industrially produced stock 'diabetic' shoes (SDS). The effectiveness of each type of 'diabetic' shoe needs to be proven clinically, e.g. in terms of prevention of foot ulceration. The following study assesses a new German SDS, the LucRo shoe, which consists of rocker-shaped walking sole, a standardized shock absorption insole, and soft uppers without stiff toe-caps. The LucRo SDS has been registered as a Medicinal Product according to the European Community Guideline 93/42/EC.
Patients and methods: A total of 92 high-risk diabetic patients (mean age 63 years, duration of diabetes 13 years) with healed foot ulcer were recruited prospectively over 31 months; 87 patients suffered from polyneuropathy, 24 patients had peripheral ischaemic vessel disease. One group of patients (n = 60) received the LucRo SDS and wore them, while the remaining patients (n = 32) did not receive the SDS and were forced to use their normal footwear. This allocation reflects the haphazard reimbursement policies of the individual patients' health insurance, and is in accordance with the current German legislation. The patients were followed up for up to 42 months until the first foot ulcer relapse, or the end of the study.
Results: There were no differences between the groups concerning age, sex, type and duration of diabetes, prevalence of polyneuropathy and peripheral ischaemic vessel disease, frequency of foot care and mortality rate. The first year annual rate of foot ulcer relapse was significantly different between the groups: 60% without SDS vs. 15% with SDS. The overall cumulative ulcer-free survival was significantly greater with SDS (P < 0.0001, log rank test).
Conclusion: The LucRo stock 'diabetic' shoe appears effective in the prevention of foot re-ulceration in high-risk patients with diabetic podopathy.