The effectiveness of felt padding for offloading diabetes-related foot ulcers, at baseline and after one week of wear Academic Article uri icon


  • Felt padding is used to offload diabetes-related foot ulceration although limited quality data exists to support its use. This study aimed to quantify pressure offloading from neuropathic plantar foot ulcers in a clinical setting, when felt padding is first applied and after wear.This study used a within-subjects, repeated measures design. Data was collected in a high-risk foot service. Peak plantar pressures, contact area and contact time were measured in 15 diabetes subjects with 16 non-complicated plantar neuropathic foot ulcers, with: no felt padding, newly applied felt padding and felt padding after one week of wear.Statistically significant decreases in peak pressure of 49% and 32% were measured with newly applied felt padding (188.0kPa; p<0.001) and worn felt padding (248kPa; p=0.003) respectively, compared to no padding (367.2kPa). Worn felt offloaded 32% less pressure than new felt however this did not reach statistical significance (p=.069). Corresponding increases in contact area of 18% and 14% occurred with newly applied felt padding (156.9cm2; p<.001) and worn felt padding (150.6cm2; p=0.003) compared to no padding (132.5cm2). Contact time was constant across testing conditions.New felt padding offloaded on average half the pressure applied to sites of plantar neuropathic ulceration, which reduced to one third after wear. Increased contact area under the foot is a possible mechanism contributing to pressure reduction. Further studies are required to evaluate effectiveness of felt padding directly on ulcer healing.

publication date

  • 2016