BBF’s purpose-engineered approach to design has been a hallmark of our company since its founding. When it comes to footwear, that means superior safety is just the starting point. Our products protect the wearer from hazards while also taking into account the role of foot health in overall wellbeing. Comfortable, supportive footwear not only feels better, it reduces fatigue, improves productivity and ensures more effective circulation too, which supports the body’s natural healing and recovery processes.
Our drive to create footwear that combines protection, comfort and enhanced functionality has led us to forge a long-term relationship with expert podiatrist, Dr Annette Telmo Thompson. Dr Thompson is the Clinical Director for Podiatric Medicine at the Netcare Umhlanga Hospital Diabetes and Endocrinology Centre and has worked with BBF since it inception, and before that, with Beier Safety Footwear. She has played a key role in the development of BOVA ranges like Trax, PU/Vibram, Aktiv and DCR, and has also contributed to the IP behind our gumboot lines. Her insight has been pivotal in ensuring our products are some of the best in our industry.
As long time partners of Dr Thompson’s, we’re proud to share the news that she has recently been awarded a PhD in Clinical Medicine from the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal for her multi-faceted study on foot complications in people living with diabetes. Among other key findings, her research was the first to connect the role of the big toe, the function and phases of gait, and the venous return in the foot. This now links to knowledge of the structures in the foot that make up the internal foot mechanics of what is called the ‘foot venous pump’. This is essential for blood circulation in the lower limbs, and her research now ties into what is already known about the calf muscle pump to further the field.
Another key outcome of Dr Thompson’s research was the finding that the flexion position of footwear often does not match the anatomical flexion position of foot. Linking back to the findings earlier in her study, it emphasises the link between mismatched footwear and poor blood circulation. This is a key issue for patients with diabetes – the focus group for Dr Thompson’s research – but is also something that impacts anyone working in environments where they are on their feet for much of the day.
Dr Thompson ultimately hopes that her PhD findings will influence healthcare policy in terms of podiatry, as well as future guidelines on foot examination in workers, education and shoe design. We are excited to continue our ongoing relationship with her, and look forward to the ongoing and positive impact her expertise bring to our business, and the South Africans who wear our safety footwear each and every day.