Diabetic individuals frequently suffer from skin pathologies, especially in their feet. Co-existing peripheral vascular disease and neuropathy exacerbate the capacity of these individuals to cope with infections, minor cuts and wounds, often leading to hard to treat and chronic ulcers. Copper has potent anti-fungal and antibacterial properties. Copper is also an essential trace element vital for the normal function of many tissues and indispensable for the generation of new capillaries and skin.
Human skin is not sensitive to copper and the risk of adverse reactions due to dermal exposure to copper is extremely low. We hypothesize that part of the increased risk of developing foot skin pathologies in diabetic patients with compromised blood circulation to the foot is due to low local copper levels.
We further hypothesize that copper ions released from copper impregnated socks and absorbed through the skin would improve the well-being of the skin of diabetic patients by inducing angiogenesis and expression and stabilization of extracellular skin proteins, in addition to their biocidal effect of reducing the risk of fungal and bacterial infection of the diabetic foot.
Thus, the use of copper impregnated socks may be used as a preventive modality. Furthermore, we hypothesize that the copper released from the socks may even be beneficial in the healing of cuts, wounds and even hard to treat skin pathologies.
Authors: Gadi Borkow PhD, Richard C. Zatcoff, Jeffrey Gabbay. Medical Hypotheses Journal 73 (2009) 883–886