6/7/2012 5:03 PM
Dr. Paul Scherer closed the Bill Olson Biomechanics Lecture Track this morning discussing the biomechanics of friction of the bottom of the foot. The talk was geared at the diabetic foot, but easily applied to the athletic population, or anyone who experiences callusing, blistering, and ulceration. He asked us to look not only at vertical load pressure, but also shear forces. He presented a material, PTFE, which has a super low coefficient of friction, meaning there is minimal resistance, and likely less chance of callusing, blistering, and therefore, ulcerating.
Sounds promising, BUT it does raise the question of stability in a population with neuropathy. Would this material be slippery? Would this material make a diabetic with poor balance worse? Would an athlete, a runner, for example, continuously slide into the toe box of the shoe and damage toenails? Would a athlete in a cutting sport, say, soccer, slide into the upper of the shoe and potentially injure herself? What about the junction of the PTFE and the remainder of the top cover material on a functional foot orthotic? Would this be a spot where the sock/top cover interface could create a new friction lesion on the foot?
I am excited to learn more about this material.