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Research project: SPIDERSOLE: Optimal insole design for people who have foot arthritis.

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Given the increasing public health agenda to ensure that the UK population is mobile and healthy, good foot health and improved mobility, enhancing independence, is a matter of priority. It is therefore essential that effective foot care and interventions are accessible to all. However, a clear problem in predicting future supply and demand for foot health care is the current marked disparity in the service delivery of foot care interventions, such as insoles, across the UK. A second issue is the lack of robust evidence that demonstrates effectiveness of podiatry practice in insole design and prescription. Current thinking has moved towards 3D printing techniques as cheaper, more consistent approaches to medical devices.

We have forged an excellent relationship with a local company, SO3D in working in collaboration with them on a small feasibility study in the development of a new proto-type insole to help alleviate foot and knee pain due to osteoarthritis for people within the general population. This investigation was linked to a proof of concept investigation by one of the team’s MRes students, Simeon Yardley, that demonstrated a new hypothesis in the approach and design of insoles for management of knee and foot osteoarthritis. The new, more simplified approach however still relied on traditional materials for construction. We therefore secured a small pump primer funding from the FortisNet group to establish proof of concept that the traditional materials could be translated to 3D printed devices. From this a new insole design emerged. The design is unique and dubbed 'the SpidersoleTM' insole.

The SpidersoleTM project is additionally novel in the partnership between an industry partner, SO3D who have excellent knowledge of 3D printing techniques and podiatrists who can integrate clinical knowledge with industrial application. We secured further funding for impact acceleration from the FortisNet group with a secondary aim to upskill a clinical podiatrist (ECR) in 3D printing, CAD and commercialisation techniques towards a production ready insole. Embedded within this is the transfer of knowledge between the ECR and industry partner both ways.


University of Southampton Institute for Life Sciences FortisNet pump priming and impact Acceleration programme funds.

Read more about the project from the Abstracts from The College of Podiatry Annual Conference 2017.

Investigation of foot pressures in the Spidersole™ design phase.

Associated research themes

Foot orthoses
Active Living Technologies Theme

Related research groups

Active Living and Rehabilitation
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