Prevention of Recurrent Foot Ulcers With Plantar Pressure-Based In-Shoe Orthoses: The CareFUL Prevention Multicenter Randomized Controlled Trial.

Ulbrecht JS, Hurley T, Mauger DT, Cavanagh PR.

In a recent publication of Diabetes Care, Department of Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine Faculty member Peter Cavanagh assessed the efficacy of in-shoe orthoses that were designed based on shape and barefoot plantar pressure in reducing the incidence of submetatarsal head plantar ulcers in people with diabetes, peripheral neuropathy, and a history of similar prior ulceration.

In a single-blinded multicenter randomized controlled trial, subjects were randomized to wear shape- and pressure-based orthoses (experimental, n = 66) or standard-of-care A5513 orthoses (control, n = 64). Patients were followed for 15 months, until a study end point (forefoot plantar ulcer or nonulcerative plantar forefoot lesion) or to study termination. Proportional hazards regression was used for analysis.

There was a trend in the composite primary end point (both ulcers and nonulcerative lesions) across the full follow-up period (P = 0.13) in favor of the experimental orthoses. This trend was due to a marked difference in ulcer occurrence (P = 0.007) but no difference in the rate of nonulcerative lesions (P = 0.76). At 180 days, the ulcer prevention effect of the experimental orthoses was already significant (P = 0.003) when compared with control, and the benefit of the experimental orthoses with respect to the composite end point was also significant (P = 0.042). The hazard ratio was 3.4 (95% CI 1.3-8.7) for the occurrence of a submetatarsal head plantar ulcer in the control compared with experimental arm over the duration of the study.

Shape- and barefoot plantar pressure-based orthoses were more effective in reducing submetatarsal head plantarulcer recurrence than current standard-of-care orthoses, but they did not significantly reduce nonulcerative lesions.