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UA researchers develop SmartSox for diabetics

PHOENIX — Researchers at the University of Arizona are creating a special pair of socks that could help head off diabetic ulcers.

The SmartSox are being developed by the Department of Surgery’s Southern Arizona Limb Salvage Alliance. The group received more than $2 million in research grants from the Qatar National Research Fund to conduct the three-year study.

“They look like ordinary socks,” said Dr. David G. Armstrong, a podiatric surgeon and director of the alliance. “The only difference is that substituting some of the threads are actually these really super thin fiber optics.”

Armstrong said the technology is able to detect when an ulcer might develop in the foot, which is a common problem for diabetics, and often results in an amputation.

“The vast majority of these things are preventable, and so the impetus for these SmartSox is to try to identify these problems before they ever show up.”

The price tag for the socks is $70,000.