Dr. Iltifat Husain’s physician take is at the end of this article
Siren Care, a creator of “next-generation” textiles, will release a smart sock delivered via a subscription service to assist those with diabetes. Wearable technology has come a long way from the lead ball-sliding pedometers attached to your waistband clicking away until 10,000 steps. Today, the technology can almost seamlessly integrate into the clothing we wear. Siren Care invented a new sock that connects with a proprietary medical app to monitor temperature in the foot and therefore detect inflammation which is an important indicator of infection.
Other companies have tread these wearable roads before — like Sensoria’s use of t-shirts, bras, and sole inserts to track diabetes. Siren’s sock, however, is close to the skin and covers more surface area. The sensors are woven into the sock, don’t require charging and provide instant feedback without charging. Those with diabetic neuropathy must keep a constant eye on the health of their feet since a small injury could lead to diabetic infections and even worse, ulcers. According to the American Podiatric Medical Association, 14 to 24 percent of diabetic patients who develop ulcers will need an amputation.
These “smart socks” are easy to use. Style-wise there is only one difference between Siren and traditional diabetic socks: a small disk (much like a clothing security tag) at the top of the socks to relay information to the app. The price is $120 for seven socks — one for each day of the week — and they’re meant to be thrown away after six months. At that time, Siren will send an additional seven socks if you choose to sign up for their subscription model.
When speaking to TechCrunch, Siren co-founder Ran Man mentioned that the company is thinking about other wearables that sense light, moisture and pressure. In the meantime, you can purchase their temperature-sensing socks in spring of 2017.
Dr. Iltifat Husain’s take:
Management of feet with patients who have diabetes is a serious issue. Once a patient has the diagnosis of diabetes their body’s ability to fight infections in their feet drastically reduces (due to peripheral nature of extremity, lack of vigorous blood supply, and glycosylation of cells), which makes it critical their feet are clean and any signs of infection are quickly addressed with close wound care management.
I see the sequelae of poor feet care in diabetes patients on a daily basis — not only can foot ulcers form, but even worse, patients can develop osteomyelitis — bone infections that require IV antibiotics. My recommendation to Siren Care would be to partner with academic medical centers and see if they can enroll patients in a clinical trial to see if their socks can help improve diabetic management care — if they are able to get objective data to show their product works, there is no reason why it couldn’t become a standard of care.