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Foot anthropometrics in individuals with diabetes compared with the general Swedish population: Implications for shoe design

Journal article
Authors Ulla Hellstrand Tang
Jacqueline Siegenthler
Kerstin Hagberg
Jon Karlsson
Roy Tranberg
Published in Foot and Ankle Online Journal
Volume 10
Issue 3
ISSN 1941-6806
Publication year 2017
Published at Institute of Clinical Sciences
Institute of Clinical Sciences, Department of Orthopaedics
Language en
Keywords foot deformities, foot ulcers, footwear, prevention, shoe design, shoe lasts, diabetes, diabetic foot, anthropometrics
Subject categories Endocrinology and Diabetes


Background: The literature offers sparse information about foot anthropometrics in patients with diabetes related to foot length, foot width and toe height, although these measurements are important in shoe fitting. A poorly fitted shoe is one of many contributory factors in the development of diabetic foot ulcers. The purpose of this study was to describe the foot anthropometrics in groups of patients with diabetes, in groups representing the general population and to explore whether foot anthropometrics differ between patients with diabetes and the general population. Method: Foot anthropometrics (foot length, foot width and maximum toe height) was measured in 164 patients with diabetes, with and without neuropathy (n = 102 and n = 62 respectively). The general population was represented by 855 participants from two sources. Results: Foot length, foot width and toe height varied (220-305 mm; 82-132 mm and 15-45 mm respectively) in the diabetic group and in the group representing the general population (194-306 mm; 74-121 mm and 17-31 mm respectively). Age, gender and BMI influence the foot anthropometrics, however, when adjusting for theses variables the index foot length/width was lower (2.58) in patients with diabetes without neuropathy vs. controls (2.63), p = 0.018. Moreover, patients with diabetes with neuropathy had wider feet (98.6 mm) compared with the controls (97.0 mm), p = 0.047. Conclusions: The individual variations of foot length, foot width and maximum toe height were large. The impact of gender on foot anthropometrics was confirmed and the impact of age and BMI were shown. Patients with diabetes seemed to have a wider forefoot width and a lower foot length to foot width ratio compared to the controls.

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