On Dec. 4, 2020, the European Footwear Confederation and its partners from Czechia, Germany, Poland, Portugal, Spain, and Romania kicked off the new Erasmus+ project DiaSHOE. Diabetes currently affects 463 million people worldwide and complications in the lower limbs caused by the disease are frequent: it is estimated that 15% of people suffering from diabetes either suffer or risk suffering from such complications. One of the main causes of the so-called Diabetic Foot Syndrome (DFS) is closely associated with footwear: 80% of DFS complications are linked to the use of inappropriate footwear. The project intends to support footwear manufacturers, patients, healthcare workers, and shoe-store clerks to tackle this issue through two main avenues: prevention and skills development.
The close relationship between Footwear and Diabetic Foot Syndrome
According to data from the International Diabetes Federation, 1 in 11 adults in the world has diabetes, which amounts to 463 million people. And the numbers are expected to grow: it is foreseen that 700 million people will be living with diabetes globally by 2045. In the European Union, 8% of the population - or about 60 million people - currently suffers from the disease. Diabetic foot and lower limbs complications, which affect 40 to 60 million people with diabetes globally, are an important source of morbidity in people with diabetes. Chronic ulcers and amputations result in a significant reduction in the quality of life of people with diabetes. Expert medical reports indicate that the main cause of complications from DFS is related to wearing inappropriate footwear. In fact, inappropriate footwear is the cause of 80% of such complications.
Prevention, skills and stakeholders’ cooperation for a high-impact response
The DiaSHOE consortium understands that the frequent use of inappropriate footwear by diabetic people is caused by different factors. This is why the consortium will focus on prevention by stressing the closeness of the relationship between footwear and DFS, and on skills by creating appropriate learning material to guide footwear manufacturers, people with diabetes, formal and informal caregivers, shoe-store clerks and VET schools to best address this issue.
The project will therefore launch three Digital Education Packages that will complement and enrich already existing training paths, as well as an awareness-raising campaign to engage the respective target groups. These tailored educational packages will guide footwear manufacturers, patients, healthcare workers, and shoe-store clerks in creating, recommending, and selecting the appropriate footwear to limit the risk, care for, and control Diabetic Food Syndrome. Throughout the project, stakeholders will steer the work being produced by the consortium through surveys, observers’ panels, and continuous feedback, in order to ensure that the material developed is perfectly tailored to its respective audiences.
By bringing together footwear technology and education experts and a large array of key stakeholders, DiaSHOE consortium, led by the Portuguese Footwear Technology Centre (CTCP), will not only make sure that the best quality material is developed, but that it also reaches the right audiences. DiaSHOE will help guide the production of diabetes-friendly footwear and will raise-awareness about the importance of using such footwear, not only to patients themselves, but also to all people that care and give them support and advice on how to control the disease.
10 December 2020