To assess the acceptability of specially designed socks to provide satisfactory pressure relief in the insensitive, high-risk, diabetic foot. We have conducted a longitudinal multicenter patient evaluation study to assess the acceptability of such hosiery in neuropathic diabetic patients.
A group of 86 neuropathic diabetic patients (69 males, 14 with type I diabetes) with a mean age of 63 yr (range 34–85 yr), and a diabetes duration of 16 yr (range 1–45 yr) participated in the study. Peripheral vascular disease was present in 28 (33%) patients, previous foot ulceration in 39 (44%) patients, and active ulceration was present in 11 (13%) patients. All patients were provided with three pairs of specially designed socks and 80 patients with extra-depth shoes. Evaluation and foot examination were performed at 3 and 6 mo.
Socks were worn for a mean of 6 days/wk (range 1–7 days/wk). Patient satisfaction evaluated at both visits was good or very good in 85%, average in 12%, and poor in 3% of patients. Ten ulcers healed during this period, and seven new ulcers occurred. Intention to continue wearing the socks, most or all of the time, was expressed by 84% of patients.
We conclude that the experimental socks have a high level of patient satisfaction when worn with suitable shoes, and may be an acceptable and inexpensive addition to existing methods of protecting the high-risk insensitive diabetic foot.