Diabetes is a serious medical condition that can cause foot problems, which may lead to neuropathy (loss of feeling), can develop. As we know, diabetes causes a person’s immune system to be compromised, which makes a person vulnerable to common minor infections. For instance, it has been documented, that individuals with diabetes, are five times more likely to contract athlete’s foot or some other type of fungal infection.
At least 25% of all diabetics will develop ulcers on their feet, more than half of these foot ulcers will get infected. If not treated quickly and effectively, infected foot ulcers can lead to amputation.
According to Professor of Surgery, Dr. Najafi, from the University of Arizona, “amputation, due to diabetes, can be prevented if a patient becomes an advocate of their own health and if there is a more effective way to predict foot ulcers, as soon as possible”. This is where “smart sock technology” becomes beneficial to diabetics.
The three important changes that can indicate potential foot ulcers are temperature, pressure and the slight shift in joint angles. “Smart sock technology” is made with fiber optics, that detect the above mentioned changes, and this valuable information is sent (in real time), via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, to a computer or cell phone. With this immediate information, patients, as well as health care professionals can be alerted, and take preventative measures before a potential ulcer breaks through the skin.
Another type of sock technology, to prevent foot ulcers, is when copper oxide is added to socks. When copper oxide socks are worn, the slightest change in foot moisture causes a release of free copper ions, that are absorbed by the skin and kills any fungi.
Cupron, Inc. and iCamp are two companies that are developing, researching and marketing “smart sock technology”.
Traditionally, diabetics would have to diligently check their feet every day for wounds or open sores, and also visit the foot doctor on a regular basis. In addition, uncomfortable compression- type socks may need to be regularly worn. This new technology, offers diabetics peace of mind, and a reduction of out-of-pocket health care expenses.