Studies show that diabetics are up to five times more susceptible to fungal infections than people without diabetes, says the Richmond Times Dispatch. These infections can lead to secondary bacterial infections, blood infections, tissue damage, gangrene, and even amputation. Yet, are the new copper-oxide socks from Cupron really the answer in preventing diabetic onychomycosis?
What Are Cupron Socks?
It’s premature to speculate on the impact that Cupron socks can have on diabetic foot care, but the initial reports seem promising. Last January, Virginia-based Cupron received the 2013 Governor’s Award for Science Innovation. Unlike many other new brands launching, this company is science-based and has focused much effort on conducting studies that will persuade hospitals, diabetes educators, and podiatrists to consider their groundbreaking product. This was much the same approach we used when developing the SteriShoe UV Shoe Sanitizer.
What Does Science Say?
A small, 56-person pilot study published in Podiatry Today concludes: “Based on the strong in vitro data and some in vivo data, the Miami VA Healthcare System is currently involved in an IRB-approved multicenter study to provide evidence-based medicine on the possible efficacy and safety of using copper oxide impregnated socks as a preventative measure for diabetes-related lower limb and foot ulcers.”
A 2004 study found that copper products did not irritate the skin and could serve a wide variety of applications — used in antiviral gloves and filters to deactivate HIV; in fabrics to kill antibiotic-resistant bacteria; in socks to alleviate symptoms of athlete’s foot fungus; and in mattress covers to kill dust mites.
In April, a study published in the SHEA Journal of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology stated that antimicrobial copper surfaces in hospital rooms can reduce healthcare-acquired infections (which affects 1 in 20 patients) by 58%. The study reported that “antimicrobial copper is the only strategy that works continuously, has been scientifically proven to be effective, and doesn’t depend on human behavior.”
So far, Cupron-Enhanced EOS Surfaces have received the US EPA Public Health certification to treat tough-t0-kill pathogens such as E Coli, MRSA, VRE, Enterobacter Aerogenes, and Pseudomonas Aeruginosa. In the coming year, the company expects to have many other official registrations backing their claims.
The Bottom Line: Can Copper Oxide Prevent Diabetic Onychomycosis?
We feel hopeful about the possibility of copper oxide socks having an impact on diabetic onychomycosis. However, it could be a while before we see Cupron socks on the market. More rounds of testing are being done to sway large players, according to the Times Dispatch.
Also, the company doesn’t actually manufacture the socks — they only develop the technology. They hope to partner with recognizable brands like Reebok, who can use the materials in their CrossFit line. The antimicrobial diabetic sock market is estimated to be in the tens of thousands, if not the millions, so we’re likely to see a flood of activity in the coming year.
Until then, there is always another clinically-proven method of keeping your feet free from microbes: The SteriShoe UV Shoe Sanitizer. In just 45 minutes, UVC light kills up to 99.9% of the bacteria, fungus, viruses, and harmful pathogens in your shoes. This technology can be used alongside the antimicrobial copper socks to reduce the spread of diabetic onychomycosis, athlete’s foot and bacterial infections.