Najafi with SmartSox prototype (320x240)
credit: Scott HolmesDr. Bijan Najafi with a SmartSox prototype.

Bijan Najafi, Ph.D., MSc, professor of surgery, director of clinical research in the Division of Vascular Surgery and Endovascular Therapy, and director of iCAMP (the Interdisciplinary Consortium on Advanced Motion Performance), was awarded an international grant from Hamad Medical Corporation (Doha, Qatar) for his proposal, “A Novel Smartsock Technology To Prevent Diabetic Foot Ulcer Based on Fiber-optic Concept.”

Dr. Najafi is collaborating with Dr. Talal Khader Talal, head of Podiatric Services at Hamad Medical Corporation on the project.

Diabetic Foot Ulceration (DFU) is a common comorbidity affecting 25 percent of patients with diabetes and loss of protective sensation associated with diabetes. This loss of feeling in diabetic feet reduces sensitivity to foot pain and results in painless wounds that can form ulcers.

Many healthcare quality improvement experts recommend enhancing the process of high-risk foot care through use of stratified foot risk exams. These exams have been shown to be useful in identifying diabetic foot at risk and assisting in prevention of DFU up to 70 percent. However, currently available technologies remain insufficient to be used on a routine basis because of impracticality, time-consuming, or difficulty to be used by non-expert caregivers or by patients. This is in particular a critical issue in Qatar, where the average physician time spent in direct patient consultation is half of that in the United States, and presents a large health care delivery challenge with competing co-morbidities for consultant time.

About the Study

This study aims to translate an innovative technology called SmartSox to assist with triaging those patients with a high-risk for diabetic foot complications. SmartSox uses highly flexible fiber optics embedded in a comfortable standard sock. Using an optical amplifier and signal processing, SmartSox allows simultaneous measurement of temperature, foot pressure, and range of motion of the toes, to objectively assess an at-risk patient’s lower extremities.