Wearing magnet-laden socks could reduce or eliminate neuropathy-related foot pain in people with diabetes, according to a study published in the January issue of the American Journal of Pain Management.
In the study, magnetic devices were able to dramatically relieve the neuropathic symptoms of burning pain, numbness and tingling in the feet of patients with diabetes. The American Institute of Stress called the study a tremendous breakthrough in the treatment of diabetic foot pain associated with neuropathy.
Lead researcher Michael Weintraub, chief of neurology at Phelps Memorial Hospital, North Tarrytown, New York, studied 19 patients suffering from foot pain. Ten of the patients had diabetes. The subjects all wore pairs of socks that had a magnet sewn into one and a magnet-placebo sewn into the other.
“We did a four-phase study,” says Weintraub. “During month one, we had a real magnet in one foot and a fake pad in the other. The next month, we switched the magnets to the opposite feet. During months three and four, we used real magnets in both socks.”
Weintraub discovered that after four months, the patients’ pain level dramatically decreased in the feet that wore the magnetic socks. He also points out that there was a 22 percent placebo magnet response during the first month and a 38 percent response after the second month in the diabetic group.
“The positive response of people with diabetes who used magnetic therapy appears to be therapeutic but not curative,” says Weintraub. “Pain symptoms recur when the magnet is removed.”
Weintraub also feels that larger clinical trials are necessary to confirm these results. In April, he will begin a national, double-blind study on 300 to 500 patients with diabetes who suffer from neuropathy pain in the feet.
“One group will wear magnets for four months, and the other group will wear placebo magnets,” says Weintraub, who has applied to the American Diabetes Association for funding of the study.