3D printed auxetic heel pads for patients with diabetic mellitus

Matthew Sin hang Leung, Kit lun Yick, Yue Sun, Lung Chow, Sun pui Ng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


More than 422 million people worldwide suffered from diabetes mellitus (DM) in 2021. Diabetic foot is one the most critical complications resultant of DM. Foot ulceration and infection are frequently arisen, which are associated with changes in the mechanical properties of the plantar soft tissues, peripheral arterial disease, and sensory neuropathy. Diabetic insoles are currently the mainstay in reducing the risk of foot ulcers by reducing the magnitude of the pressure on the plantar Here, we propose a novel pressure relieving heel pad based on a circular auxetic re-entrant honeycomb structure by using three-dimensional (3D) printing technology to minimize the pressure on the heel, thus reducing the occurrence of foot ulcers. Finite element models (FEMs) are developed to evaluate the structural changes of the developed circular auxetic structure upon exertion of compressive forces. Moreover, the effects of the internal angle of the re-entrant structure on the peak contact force and the mean pressure acting on the heel as well as the contact area between the heel and the pads are investigated through a finite element analysis (FEA). Based on the result from the validated FEMs, the proposed heel pad with an auxetic structure demonstrates a distinct reduction in the peak contact force (∼10%) and the mean pressure (∼14%) in comparison to a conventional diabetic insole (PU foam). The characterized result of the designed circular auxetic structure not only provides new insights into diabetic foot protection, but also the design and development of various impact resistance products.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105582
JournalComputers in Biology and Medicine
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022


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