Title:
Therapeutic sock for diabetics
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A sock for diabetics that is anti-microbial and allows for wound detection is provided. The sock has a colored cuff section, a colored calf section attached to the cuff section, a colored ankle section attached to the calf section, and a foot section. The foot section has a colored top section and a white bottom section, where the bottom section includes a heel section, an instep section and a toe section. The toe section has a seamless toe and the foot section includes a plurality of materials wherein at least one of the materials incorporates silver coated fibers.



Inventors:
Jacober, Alan M. (Providence, RI, US)
Application Number:
11/726990
Publication Date:
12/13/2007
Filing Date:
03/23/2007
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
66/178R
International Classes:
A41B11/00; D04B11/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
WORRELL JR, LARRY D
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Mark S. Leonardo, Esq. (Boston, MA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A diabetic sock comprising: a colored cuff section; a colored calf section attached to said cuff section; a colored ankle section attached to said calf section; and a foot section having; a colored top section; and a white bottom section, said bottom section including a heel section, an instep section and a toe section, said toe section comprising a seamless toe, and said foot section including a plurality of materials, at least one of the materials incorporates silver coated fibers.

2. The diabetic sock according to claim 1, wherein said colored cuff section and said colored calf sections include silver coated fibers.

3. The diabetic sock according to claim 1, wherein said colored calf section extends over a wearer's calf.

4. The diabetic sock according to claim 1, wherein the colored calf and ankle section is constriction free.

5. The diabetic sock according to claim 1, wherein said plurality of materials are polypropilene, spandex and nylon.

6. The diabetic sock according to claim 1, wherein said seamless toe includes a lin-toe closure.

7. The diabetic sock according to claim 1, wherein said instep section provides more constriction than said toe section and said heel section.

8. A diabetic sock comprising: a colored cuff section; a colored calf section; a colored ankle section; and a white bottom section including a white heel section, a white bottom of foot section and a white toe section covering the top and bottom of a wearer's toes; said sock being knitted with at least one thread with the insertion of at least two elastic threads at a calf section, an ankle section, an instep section, and a toe section, having a degree of elasticity that is different from each other; wherein said cuff and calf sections incorporate the first elastic thread together with said thread, wherein said ankle section incorporates said first elastic thread and the second elastic thread with said thread, wherein said instep section incorporates said second elastic thread and a third elastic thread together with said thread, wherein said toe section incorporates said third elastic thread together with said thread, and wherein said thread includes at least a portion thereof coated with silver.

9. The sock according to claim 8, wherein said first elastic thread has a strength that is greater than that of said third elastic thread.

10. The sock according to claim 8, wherein said ankle section and said instep section have vertical ribbed stitches.

11. The sock according to claim 8, wherein said toe section is seamless.

12. The sock according to claim 8, wherein said calf section is constriction free.

13. The sock according to claim 8, wherein said diabetic sock is made from polypopilene, spandex, and nylon.

14. A method for manufacturing on a circular sock knitting machine a sock for diabetics, comprising the steps of: knitting from one end to the other with at least one thread having a plurality of fibers coated with silver, said knitting starting from a cuff section to terminate at the tip of the sock through a calf section, an ankle section, an instep section and a toe section without interruption; and using in combination with said at least one thread, a first elastic thread having a first degree of elasticity in said cuff and ankle section; and a second elastic thread having a second degree of elasticity in said instep section.

15. The sock according to claim 14, wherein said step of knitting includes an upper section of the sock being colored and a bottom section of the sock being white.

16. The sock according to claim 14, wherein the sock is made from polypropilene, spandex, and nylon.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATION INFORMATION

This patent application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/785,159, filed in the U.S. on Mar. 23, 2006.

FIELD OF INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to therapeutic socks and particularly to therapeutic socks for diabetics that increase circulation, allow for early detection of wounds and are anti-microbial.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

People with diabetes are prone to many foot disorders because of complications associated with diabetes. These complications are neuropathy, retinopathy and poor blood circulation. Neuropathy or nerve damage can cause numbness in the extremities including the legs, feet and toes. This numbness makes it difficult for person to discover wounds or irritation. If these injuries go unnoticed they can become infected or with further deterioration of limbs. Circulatory problems may make it difficult for an injury to heal. Diabetes related foot and leg problems include, but are not limited to: infections and ulcers and a blocked artery in the calf. Diabetes can also cause charcot foot, which is a deformity that develops as a result of loss in sensation and a broken bone that leads to the destruction of the soft tissue of the foot caused by ligament degeneration

Certain medical conditions such as diabetes, for example, which cause diminished blood circulation to the legs and feet, have been treated by wearing various types of circulation enhancing stockings and footwear. One example of circulation enhancing footwear is a therapeutic sock described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,012,177 which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety. This example of a therapeutic sock is used to treat arterial insufficiency, cardiac and circulatory decompensation, venous insufficiency, arthrosis and rheumatism. The sock includes a leg section, a foot section and an ankle-neck of the foot section between the foot and the leg, where at least some of the sections have an elasticized knit structure with an elasticity graduated from part to part.

Certain medical patients such as diabetic patients, for example, should wear white socks because of retinopathy preventing them from detecting areas of drainage in their feet. When there is nerve damage it can be difficult to detect blood or wound secretions. Injuries that go undetected can lead to more severe injuries and/or infections. The white socks have been necessary particularly for early detection of drainage or bleeding in patients who do not have enough mobility or sight to view the bottom of their own feet or for patients that cannot feel that there is an injury or wound.

Some therapeutic socks such as those described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,012,177 have been made from white or un-dyed material to allow for early detection of bleeding in a patient's foot. Other therapeutic socks such as those described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,012,177 have been made from dark colored or dyed materials to provide the aesthetics of a dress sock. The dark colored or dyed therapeutic socks have not been useful for drainage, retinopathy or early detection of wounds in a patient's foot. Therefore, it would be desirable to provide a therapeutic sock that allows for easy detection of wounds or bleeding while providing a knit structure that is directed to improving circulation. It would also be desirable to provide a sock that incorporates a white or non-dyed bottom section and a darker upper section to maintain the aesthetics of a dress sock. It would also be desirable to provide a sock that incorporates a material that is anti-microbial to help prevent infection of wounds and prevents odors.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Accordingly, a therapeutic sock for diabetics that is aesthetically pleasing, anti-microbial and allows for easy detection of wounds, drainage or blood is provided. A particular embodiment of the present invention is based on a compression sock produced by Eurosocks North America, of Warwick, R.I. as particularly described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,092,397 which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety. This embodiment provides long-legged sock that includes a cuff section and a calf section incorporating a first elastic thread together with a basic thread. Also provided is an ankle section incorporating the first elastic thread and a second elastic thread together with the basic thread, an instep section incorporating the second elastic thread and a third elastic thread together with the basic thread; and a foot section incorporating the third elastic thread together with the basic thread.

In one embodiment according to the present disclosure, the sock has a colored cuff section, a colored calf section attached to the cuff section, a colored ankle section attached to the calf section, and a foot section. The foot section has a colored top section and a white bottom section, where the bottom section includes a heel section, an instep section and a toe section. The toe section has a seamless toe and the foot section includes a plurality of materials wherein at least one of the materials incorporates silver coated fibers.

In another embodiment, the diabetic sock according to the present disclosure has cuff and colored calf sections that include silver coated fibers. Also, in another embodiment, the diabetic sock has a colored calf section that extends over a wearer's calf.

In another embodiment, the colored calf section is constriction free. In yet another embodiment, the sock is made of polypropilene, spandex and nylon. Additionally, the seamless toe may include a lin-toe closure.

In another embodiment, the instep section provides more constriction than the toe section and the heel section.

Another sock in accordance with the present disclosure includes a colored cuff section, a colored calf section, ankle section and a white bottom section including a white heel section, a white bottom of foot section and a white toe section covering the top and bottom of a wearer's toes. The sock is knitted with at least one basic thread with the insertion of at least two elastic threads at a calf section, an ankle section, an instep section, and a toe section, having a degree of elasticity that is different from each other wherein the cuff and calf sections incorporate the first elastic thread together with the thread. The ankle section incorporates the first elastic thread and the second elastic thread with the basic thread. The instep section incorporates the second elastic thread and a third elastic thread together with the basic thread. The white toe section incorporates the third elastic thread together with the thread and the thread includes at least a portion thereof coated with silver.

In another embodiment, the first elastic thread has a strength that is greater than that of the third elastic thread. And in yet another embodiment the ankle section and the instep section have vertical ribbed stitches. Additionally, the toe section may be seamless.

In yet another embodiment, the calf and ankle section is constriction free. Also, the sock according to the present disclosure may be made from polypopilene, spandex and nylon.

A method for manufacturing on a circular sock knitting machine a sock for diabetics according to the present disclosure is also provided. The method includes the steps of knitting from one end to the other with at least one thread having a plurality of fibers coated with silver, the knitting starting from a cuff section to terminate at the tip of the sock through a calf section, ankle section, an instep section and a tip-of-the foot section without interruption. The method also includes using in combination with at least one thread, a first elastic thread having a first degree of elasticity in the cuff section and the ankle section and a second elastic thread having a second degree of elasticity in said instep section.

In another embodiment, the step of knitting includes an upper section of the sock being colored and a bottom section of the sock being white.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The objects and features of the present disclosure, which are believed to be novel, are set forth with particularity in the appended claims. The present disclosure, both as to its organization and manner of operation, together with further objectives and advantages, may be best understood by reference to the following description, taken in connection with the accompanying drawings wherein:

FIG. 1 is a schematic representation of a graduated compression sock with the inventive coloration according to an illustrative embodiment of the present disclosure; and

FIG. 2 is a schematic representation of a constriction-free embodiment of the inventive therapeutic sock according to an illustrative embodiment of the disclosure invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Reference will now be made in detail to the embodiments of the present disclosure that are illustrated in the accompanying figures. Turning now to the figures, attention is directed to FIG. 1. The therapeutic sock 10 according to one embodiment of the present invention as described with reference to FIG. 1 comprises a cuff section 12, a calf section 14, an ankle section 16, a foot section having a top-of-the-foot section A and a bottom-of-the-foot section B. The bottom section B has a heel section 18, an instep section 20, and a toe section 22.

By way of example according to the present disclosure, the sock may be produced on a circular sock knitting machine by means of a prior-art knitting method, which is known to persons skilled in the art, but with a suitable selection of the threads to be used in the different sections of the sock, starting from the border or cuff up to the end of the tip of the foot at the toe section 22.

In particular, the sock is produced by using at least one basic thread along the entire length of the sock, and selectively, three elastic threads which differ in elasticity and/or strength. The basic thread of the sock is knitted together with a first elastic thread, in the manufacture of the border or cuff 12 and in the calf and ankle section of the sock. The cuff 12 may be in ribbed stitch and the calf section 14 may be in plain stitch.

At the end of the calf section 12, or at the beginning of the ankle section 16, a second elastic thread that is different from the first one is knitted together with the basic thread and with the first elastic thread. At the end of the ankle section 16, the heel 18 of the sock is made in the usual manner, after which the instep area 20 starts. At that point, insertion of the first elastic thread stops, the instep section 20 is produced by knitting together the basic thread, the second elastic thread and the third elastic thread. At the end of this instep section 20, insertion of the second elastic thread stops, and manufacture of the sock continues in the toe section 22 by then knitting only the third elastic thread together with the basic thread. Preferably, the ankle section 16 and instep section 20 are in ribbed stitch (both in the plantar part and in the dorsal part, while the toe section is in plain stitch).

The toe section 12 may have a lin-toe closure to allow for comfort. A lin-toe closure is created by aligning knit loops on each edge of a knit fabric and then using single thread to join the edges loop-for-loop to create a single piece of knit fabric. This closure is smooth on the inside and the outside.

Some parts of the instep section 20 may also be knitted with terry loops, particularly on the inside of the sole. Also, the ankle section may be made of a graduated stitch in order to form an upside-down cone so as to follow the anatomical shape of the leg.

The finished sock will have the calf 14 and toe 22 sections made with the same type of stitch, but with a different degree of elasticity due to the difference between the first and the third elastic threads; the ankle section 16 will have a first degree of elasticity due to the presence of the first and second elastic threads, the instep section 20 will in its turn have another degree of elasticity due to the second and the third elastic threads being incorporated. The sock according to the present disclosure could include various numbers of threads with the same or different elasticity.

Additionally, the sock has a foot section having a top-of-the-foot section A and a bottom-of-the-foot section B. The top of the foot section in addition to the ankle section 6 and the calf portion 4 is made of a colored fiber or material. The bottom-of-the foot portion is made of a white fiber or material. This allows for an aesthetically pleasing look. Additionally, this coloring allows for a person to determine if there is a wound or bleeding. Thus, a diabetic person can notice the first sign a wound. Early detection helps diabetic patients prevent wounds from becoming worse and/or infected.

The sock thus manufactured, particularly with its sections of different elasticity and color, represents an innovation from the viewpoint of the structure and of the functionality of the piece of clothing.

The sock according to the present disclosure may be made of a variety of different synthetic or natural materials. At least a portion of the sock according to the present invention comprises fibers that are coated with silver. The fibers may have sections of the length of the fiber that are coated in a range of from approximately 0% to approximately 100% of the surfaces. For example, in a 3 inch fiber, the first inch is uncoated, the surface or surfaces of the second inch is 100% coated, and the third inch is uncoated. The use of silver coated fiber has never been used in a diabetic sock for therapeutic uses. Additionally, silver has not been incorporated into two toned diabetic socks that have an aesthetic appeal.

Uncoated or non-conducting fibers, including but not limited to alginates, chitosans, polymers, synthetic and naturally occurring fibers or foams may be used in the sock according to the present disclosure. The silver-coated fibers vary in composition and may or may not have a functional three dimensional structure used for movement of fluid. For purposes of the invention, the term “three dimensional coating” refers to the circumferential, concentric, uniform coating of all the surfaces of a fiber which may be the entire length of the fiber or may comprise one or more coated sections of the fiber.

The base substrate that is coated with a silver to form the conductive material that is incorporated into the sock can be any biocompatible, flexible, synthetic or natural material that can be formed into a film, fiber, foam, web, or any configuration capable of supporting a silver coating and combinations of such forms. The base substrate material can include, but is not limited to polyethylene, rubber, saran, spandex, vinyl, polyester, silk, wool, rayon, cotton, cellulose or combinations thereof. Configurations include fibers, films, foams or webs comprising blends, composite materials, or multi-component fibers, either woven, knitted or non-woven. Some individuals may have a topical hypersensitivity to certain fiber materials, and the base fiber is preferably non-allergenic or hypoallergenic.

A preferred material for making fibers or foams used in the present invention is any material that has a nitrogen group or a similarly functional group capable of being sensitized, that is available for sensitizing the material for autocatalytic metal plating. If the material does not have a nitrogen group on the surface of the material, then a layer of different material, which provides a nitrogen, can be coated on the foam or fiber prior to sensitizing. For example, cross-linked polyethylene fibers are coated with polyamide to provide a nitrogen group on the surface of the fibers. The polyamide-coated fiber is then sensitized for autocatalytic metal plating. Compositions and methods for sensitizing materials for autocatalytic metal plating are known to those skilled in the art and include, but is not limited to, tin chloride. After sensitizing the polyamide-coated fiber, silver, is autocatalytically plated onto the fiber. The autocatalytic metal plating preferably provides a uniform metal coat to the sensitized section of the fiber. For the purposes herein, fibers including silver coated fibers may include an elastic or elastomeric thread. Benefits of coating elastic threads with silver include increased antimicrobial benefits due to constriction, proximity and pressure against the skin and/or wound areas of a wearer.

Under optimum conditions, the coated fibers, when moistened, can be electrically conductive, non-adherent, liquid and gas permeable, porous, and anti-microbial. This is especially beneficial for a diabetic patient who is susceptible to wounds and injuries of the foot. The conductive fibers or materials may contact the surface of the wound and the surface of normal tissue surrounding the wound. Ideally, the composition of the conductive material comprises a plurality of fibers, wherein at least one fiber is uniformly and concentrically coated with a silver so that the coating is three dimensional and covers all surfaces of the fiber. The anti-microbial activity of released silver ions and the silver surface function as a microbial barrier, and aid in preventing the migration of microbes from the surrounding environment to the wound surface, while at the same time allowing fluids and gases to pass freely.

Ideally, the metallic silver used for the invention is of high purity, preferably from about 99.0% to about 99.6% pure, although lower purity levels can also function. It is believed that high purity reduces the likelihood that contaminants or undesirable ions may contact or penetrate the wound or skin.

Individual fibers may be fabricated into several different types of yarns including, but not limited to, spun yarns, filament yarns, compound yarns, fancy yarns and combinations thereof. Fibers can be configured into tow and floc and can be provided in the form of staple or bulk continuous filament. The filament and compound yarns that exhibit multiple longitudinal filaments are preferred. It is believed that the greater the continuity of the yarns, the greater the potential for excellent conductivity when plated. Fibers and/or yarns can be assembled into fabrics, including but not limited to, woven fabrics, twisted and knotted fabrics, knit fabrics, non-woven fabrics and compound/complex fabrics. It is proposed that the total surface section of the fibers that compose the filaments, fibers, yarns or fabric is a variable in determining conductivity as well as passive metal ion release into aqueous fluids. For example, the sock according to the present disclosure is made of polypropilene, spandex, and nylon, wherein a plurality of fibers that make up these materials are coated with silver.

A sock in accordance with the present disclosure is shown in FIG. 2. FIG. 2 depicts a constriction-free embodiment 30 and comprises a cuff section 32, a calf section 34, an ankle section 36, a foot section having a top-of-the-foot section C and a bottom-of-the-foot section D. The bottom section D has a heel section 38, an instep section 40, and a toe section 42.

Calf portion 34 is a non constrictive embodiment. The calf section 34 extend up the calf, however, it does not extend over the calf. The sock of FIG. 2 may be knitted in a similar fashion as the sock of FIG. 1, however, calf section 34 is knitted in a manner to provide a knit sock easily stretches and has a loose feel. The calf portion is knitted such that the calf portion is constriction-free to allow for blood flow to the leg and foot sections. This provides for increased comfort for a diabetic patient that requires less support than the sock of FIG. 1.

Worn daily, the sock has benefits both for the person who is frequently moving and for the person who is more sedentary. While walking, the sections of different elasticity, especially the ankle and instep section, constitute a support which helps the natural movement of the foot, stimulating and aiding the blood circulation.

A similar support and compression effect may likewise be found in the static phases of sitting or in the upright position of the person wearing the sock. Actually, even the smallest movements of the feet are utilized by the sections of different (variable) elasticity of the sock, having a positive effect on the venous and lymphatic pressure of the limb.

The results, which are also clinically proven, have shown improvements in the blood flow from the lower limbs, preventing swelling especially of the ankle and resulting states of heaviness and fatigue. Improvements were also found in the problems caused both by the disease of diabetes, in particular if the sock has a terry sole, and by arthrosis and rheumatism.

The silver coated fibers provide anti-microbial benefits so that a diabetic patient will likely suffer from less infections and wound irritation caused by bacteria. Additionally, silver fibers will help eliminate any odors. Similar socks have not incorporated such silver coated fibers into the material. These fibers increase the efficacy of the sock for therapeutic uses for diabetic patients.

It will be understood that various modifications may be made to the embodiments disclosed herein. Therefore, the above description should not be construed as limiting, but merely as exemplification of the various embodiments. Those skilled in the art will envision other modifications within the scope and spirit of the claims appended hereto