Compact and portable digitally controlled device for testing footwear materials: technical note.
Little or no practical decision-making data are available to the foot-care provider regarding the selection of orthotic materials used in therapeutic footwear. A device for simulating in-shoe forefoot conditions for the testing of orthosis materials is described. Materials are tested for their effectiveness by evaluating and comparing stress-strain and dynamic compression fatigue characteristics. The device, called the Cyclical Compression Tester (CCT), has been optimized for size, simplicity of construction, and cost. Application of the device ranges from the clinician deciding the useful life of single- and multidensity orthosis materials to the researcher characterizing materials for finite-element analysis modeling. This real-time CCT device and custom user interface combine to make an evaluation tool useful for testing how the pressure distribution of in-shoe materials changes over time in therapeutic footwear for those with peripheral neuropathy at risk for foot injury.