We’ve covered smart socks on several occasions, designed for helping patients with dementia, runners, and seniors who are at risk of falling. Now there is another sock device that is designed to tackle the problem of diabetic neuropathy that often leads to amputations. Neuropathy refers to nerve damage, which is a common problem for diabetics because high blood sugar levels can injure nerves, especially in the feet. As a result, the patient is not aware of extended pressure in one spot, or displacement of toes or other parts due to ill-fitting shoes or other causes. This leads to reduced blood supply, and can develop into ulcers that are difficult to heal. According to some sources, the resulting amputations cost more than $10 billion in the U.S. alone.
Researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem wanted to solve this problem. The result is a pressure-sensitive sock and companion smartphone app. The machine-washable SenseGo sock measures the pressure all around the foot, and relays the data to an app running on a smartphone. If a given location registers too much pressure over a length of time, then an alert is issued. The data can also be reported to a physician or other healthcare worker.
By preventing the pressure ulcers from occurring, the need for amputations will be reduced, leading to a significant savings. Identifying health problems before they become harder and more expensive to treat is one of the great potential benefits for wearable Health Tech devices.