A wearable electrical stimulation and vibration therapy system might be just what the doctor ordered for people experiencing foot pain and balance loss due to diabetic neuropathy.

The sock with a smart insole can deliver both transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) and vibration therapy that block pain signals to the brain and provide haptic feedback to help with balance issues, respectively.

The device treats pain and improves balance by combining the TENS and the vibrational therapy in one wearable, portable, user-controllable, and easy-to-use device. Patients use a smartphone app to control the type, intensity, and duration of the desired therapeutic stimulus. The system also allows users to target a specific area of the foot.

The device has three regions: one in the front of the insole, one in the middle, and one at the back. Patients control both the amplitude of the vibration and the location where it’s delivered. Some patients might only want vibration at the front of their feet and some only at the back. (Image credit: Jeff Fitlow/Rice University)

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