Research by the Advanced Textiles department at Nottingham Trent University has led to the development of electronic smart socks which inform users of diabetic complications.

The research in collaboration with Siren Care will specifically detect the early signs of diabetic foot uclers. According to Diabetes UK, 2,913,538 people were diagnosed with diabetes in 2015.

The socks can continuously measure the temperature of the patient’s feet and relay the data to an accompanying app. The socks aim to give an advanced warning of when users may be about to develop an ulcer allowing them to prevent the occurrence. Around one in twenty people with diabetes will develop a foot ucler in the space of a year.

“This cOULD tell doctors before it happens.”
Pasindu Lugoda, Researcher

If poorly controlled, diabetes can damage the nerves, muscles, sweat glands and circulation in the feet which can lead to amputations. Diabetes is the most common cause of lower limb amputations with 100 people a week losing a toe, foot or lower limb due to the illness.

The sock has sensors embedded within the fibres to monitor the patient’s temperature. Researcher Pasindu Lugoda, developed the temperature sensor technology as part of his PhD. He believes this invention could make a major different to the speed in which patients are treated.

 

He said ” It’s like a normal sock but it monitors the temperature of diabetics. When a patient puts it on, the sock monitors the temperature of the two feet at different points. If there’s a temperature difference within the points and if it’s greater than a certain value then most likely an ulcer will occur.”

Pasindu Lugoda’s grandfather had an ulcer and saw how he suffered so wanted to help make a difference.

An ulcer is where an area of skin has broken down and the underlying tissue is visible. The skin normally heals quickly if it is cut. However, the skin on the feet does not heal well for people with diabetes so they are prone to developing an ulcer.