Innovative Pressure Monitoring Stockings For Diabetics

Photo Credit: Fraunhofer ISC

Diabetes Patients May Soon be Able to Benefit from Hi-Tech Socks and Stockings

Over time, the excess fat and glucose in the blood from diabetes can lead to damaged nerves in the legs and feet. These damaged nerves can prevent you from feeling the temperature differences of hot and cold or pain and injuries.  The medical term for this condition is called diabetic neuropathy.

In addition, diabetes negatively affects blood circulation.  Without optimal blood flow it can take much longer for cuts or wounds to heal.  Inadequate blood flow in the arms and legs (also called extremities) is a circulation disorder that affects the blood vessels further away from the heart.  In medical language this is known as peripheral vascular disease.

The absence of feeling pressure or pain can result in wounds that could go unnoticed, become infected and develop into sores.  In worst case scenarios, these infections can turn into gangrene, which is the dying or death of tissue.  To prevent gangrene from spreading to healthy tissue, it may become necessary to remove toes, a foot or even a portion of one’s leg.

Research has shown that more than 50% of these amputations could be prevented by properly caring for the legs and feet of individuals suffering from diabetes.

Pressure-monitoring stockings
Pressure-monitoring stockings with integrated elastomer sensors – Photo Credit: Fraunhofer ISC

A major break-through development has just been announced with a new invention by the Fraunhofer Institute in Germany – a prototype of pressure monitoring stockings to help protect the legs and feet of diabetic patients.

These unique pressure sensing stockings may help prevent dangerous situations of infectious wounds that could result in gangrene and even amputation for some patients.

Individuals with diabetes often have sensory loss due to nerve damage and circulation issues in their feet.  Because of this, they actually don’t know when areas of their feet or toes are subject to excessive pressure that could lead to sores.

These newly developed stockings have built-in sensors that provide pressure readings.  A total of forty sensors, which are distributed over the stockings sole, heel, and top replace the function of the nerves in the feet by taking three-dimensional pressure readings.  This is far superior to existing systems, which only measure the pressure on the bottom of the feet through shoe inserts.

According to Fraunhofer ISC research scientist Dr. Bernhard Brunner, a pair of pressure monitoring stockings should cost no more than 250 euros because the measuring system can be manufactured in a cost-effective way.

The new pressure-monitoring stocking prototype will be presented May 19-21 at the SENSOR+TEST 2015 trade show in Nuremberg, Germany.

To read the entire press release in detail please follow the link below…

Fraunhofer Institute Press Release – Pressure Monitoring Stockings

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