FALL RELIEF: Scientists at Victoria University have designed innersoles that can stop elderly people from tripping over.
FALL RELIEF: Scientists at Victoria University have designed innersoles that can stop elderly people from tripping over. Kylie Else

Step out with insoles designed with you in mind

INSOLES are a simple way to improve the way you walk and help prevent falls, and readily available, but the latest design to come to the market is focused on the needs of older people.

The advantage of an insole solution, as compared to offering a shoe, is in its flexibility across a variety of footwear and in its affordability.

Lead researcher Dr Hanatsu Nagano of the Victoria University said he tried to design a shoe insert that would fit into as many shoe types as possible and was biomechanically proven to improve walking performance and reduce injury risks.

"As far as I know, all the insoles available in the market at the moment have three fundamental functions," Dr Nagano. The first is shock absorption which is often used in the heel area. The second is custom moulding which adapts to the individual foot shape. The third is for aligning the Achilles tendon which helps with posture.

Dr Nagano's ISEAL insole has a series of raised bumps that follow a foot's ideal centre of pressure to help with side-to-side balance, a shock-absorbing contoured heel, and a forefront that helps increase minimum toe clearance.

FALL RELIEF: The ISEAL insole aims to reduce falls risks among senior adults.
FALL RELIEF: The ISEAL insole aims to reduce falls risks among senior adults. Supplied

"The difference (with ISEAL) is this insole assists the ankle motions," Dr Nagano said. "The insole has the inclination, the people wear the insole, and the ankle gets sufficient support. The ankle orientation inside the shoe changes in a way that people walk safer."

This month Dr Nagano will be onboard the Peace Boat cruise from Yokohama to Melbourne with 985 of the passengers who are aged 65 and over. The Global Awards 2017 winner for most innovative new care product was asked to join the cruise to lecture about falls prevention. "They told me to sell the insoles as well, which will be the start of the sales," Dr Nagano said.

The ISEAL insoles are being manufactured in Japan and will be available for sale through Amazon in February for about $40 or $50 a pair.

Some of the profits from the sale of the insoles will go back into other fall prevention projects.


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