Can you feel your feet?
Often taken for granted, our feet’ sensation is necessary for optimal movement, balance, and performance. Over 20 million adults in the United States live with decreased foot sensation, also known as peripheral neuropathy.
From diabetes to multiple sclerosis and autoimmune disease, this peripheral loss of sensation contributes to over $50 billion in fall-related costs. Regardless of the cause of peripheral neuropathy, the functional impact is the same: loss of balance, increased fall risk, and impaired movement quality.
Restoring Foot Sensation
As a functional podiatrist, I treat many patients with peripheral neuropathy and see the emotional and functional impact this condition has on the lifestyle of these patients. My goal with these patients is to maintain and restore the function of the peripheral nervous system, while optimizing movement to ensure a sufficient level of function.
Movement optimization in an individual with peripheral neuropathy must begin with the feet, or specifically foot awareness.
Outside of pain, numbness of the feet is one of the most common symptoms of peripheral neuropathy and is the symptom that negatively impacts movement. Interestingly, when it comes to foot numbness and peripheral neuropathy, not all nerves are affected the same – this means that certain types of sensation may be felt in the foot, whereas others cannot be perceived.
Perception of Texture
One of the stimuli that we are finding that can still be perceived by the foot, even in numbness, is texture. The nerve that senses texture stimulation is called the SAI Merkel Disc and is the most superficial tactile nerve in the plantar foot.
When the foot stimulates with texture, the peripheral nerves communicate with the brain’s somatosensory system, which creates the foundation of body awareness and postural control.
At Naboso we have developed the first and only textured sensory insoles designed to increase foot awareness. If we look at prior research studies, including a 2017 study by Silva et al., textured insoles have improved plantar sensation, stride length, and gait parameters in those with neurological conditions.
It is time to take this prior research and apply it to a commercially available product – the Naboso Insoles.
Neuropathy Pilot Study by Naboso
We are conducting a six week Naboso insole pilot study where we are assessing 50 participants with various types of peripheral neuropathy and tracking their reported foot awareness, balance, and movement coordination when using the Naboso Neuro Insoles.
The results of this study will be presented to neurologists, physical therapists, and universities as a means to demonstrate efficacy and to spearhead additional research studies to support our FDA approval process.
Our goal at Naboso to positively impact the way people move and optimize foot awareness through texture science.
Follow Naboso on Instagram @Naboso_technology to see the final results! Stay tuned.