Diabetes not only requires constant monitoring of blood sugar and insulin levels, but diabetics also have a number of health concerns to worry about, especially on their feet, which is why it’s important to wear diabetic socks.
Diabetes can cause two major foot problems: diabetic neuropathy, where the diabetic is unable to feel heat, cold, pain, or cuts on their feet, and peripheral vascular diabetes, which affects blood flow and prevents cuts and sores from healing properly. Diabetics with these foot problems, changes in color and temperature of the feet, nerve damage, other changes in sensation, or who frequently get foot injuries should consider diabetic socks.
Diabetic socks are designed to reduce pressure, prevent blisters, minimize moisture, protect feet, and keep them comfortable, and they should be used in every diabetic’s foot care regimen. Even if you don’t have any foot problems as a diabetic, you should wear diabetic socks so you can help maintain your feet at an optimal temperature for better blood circulation.
Diabetic Socks and Venous Insufficiency
Venous insufficiency, or chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) is a condition that affects the function of vein valves in the leg (high pressure), typically resulting in blood pooling in the lower, legs, ankles, and feet. This causes swelling, skin changes, and improper circulation, all of which can be harmful if unnoticed.
Symptoms of venous insufficiency include:
- Swelling of feet
- Pain in legs while standing that decreases when you elevate the legs
- Leg cramps/feeling of tightness
- Itching and thickening of lower leg
- Color change of skin in lower leg or feet
- Ulcers on legs or feet
- Varicose veins
- Throbbing pain in legs
- Heavy/weak legs
Those with venous insufficiency can wear diabetic socks with mild compression to alleviate these symptoms and help increase blood pressure in the lower leg. Remember to always consult with your doctor before making any changes to your diabetic foot care regimen.
Features of Diabetic Socks
Diabetic socks are latex-free, non-constricting, and typically range from ankle to knee high in height for both men and women. Most diabetic socks are made from a blend of natural and synthetic fibers such as acrylic, Merino wool, bamboo, charcoal and spandex. They also offer a full profile of features to keep feet protected, comfortable, and healthy.
Padding on the footbed of the sock is not just for comfort, it also helps prevent and protect the feet from possible injuries. With cushioning all over, diabetic socks are perfect for staying warm and comfortable. Depending on your specific activity needs, there are diabetic socks with different padded areas and thickness.
Seams tend to rub against your skin and cause blisters or ulcers. Most, if not all diabetic socks are made without seams, and those are the best ones for diabetics. They fit like a second skin and provide protection for those with sensitive skin.
Diabetic socks typically have square toe boxes to avoid moisture and any discomfort on the feet. This allows a comfortable amount of room to wiggle the toes.
Loose fabrics can be a problem for diabetics because they can rub against the skin and cause injuries. Diabetic socks should be snug enough to conform to the foot and leg in order to avoid this problem, but they should also have a relaxed fit so the sock doesn't bind and restrict circulation, a potential cause for more foot problems. Most, if not all diabetic socks have non-ribbed, non-constricting tops.
Diabetics can cause blood vessels to restrict, which decreases circulation to the feet. Diabetic socks are made of fabrics that keep your feet warm can help improve circulation, thus avoiding diabetic foot problems.
Socks with wicking properties are made with fast-drying, moisture-wicking fibers that are breathable and great for keeping feet dry and preventing blisters and infections, especially during the summer in the heat and humidity. They are also antimicrobial to prevent bacterial and fungal growth and unwanted odors to keep feet fresh and healthy.
Mild Graduated Compression
Some diabetic socks are designed to provide more pressure at the foot and less pressure on the calves to help maintain proper circulation to the lower extremities and prevent harmful problems from occurring. Diabetic compression socks can also prevent blood clots, and assist in relieving achy legs, which also helps soothe foot-related discomfort. Also great for travel.
Tips for Choosing Diabetic Socks
It is recommended that individuals put on their diabetic socks from the time they step out of bed in the morning until right before they go to sleep at night. If you’re wearing socks this long you want to make sure you’re getting the best socks.
If you’re searching for your first pair of diabetic socks, it might take some trial and error to find the best ones that work for you. Here are a few things you should look for to keep you on the right track:
- White socks are easiest to detect any injuries to your feet
- Tall socks are best because they help improve circulation, and are great for healing would and minimizing swelling in the feet and ankles
Pro Tip: Be on the lookout for newer, better styles, and don’t be afraid to try new brands (some may discontinue styles or go out of business).
Tips for Cleaning Diabetic Socks
You should wash your diabetic socks as soon as possible after taking them off to prevent any bacteria growth, especially if you have ulcers, blisters, calluses or any other foot injuries.
- Wash in warm water without bleach
- Tumble dry on warm (no heat!)
Remember, diabetic socks are delicate, so treat them that way! If you take care of them properly, they should last about 6 months with regular wear.
Diabetic Foot Care
Diabetic socks are only a small part of the recipe for healthy foot care in diabetics. We want to make sure you are taking all the precautions in order to prevent diabetic foot problems such as diabetic neuropathy and peripheral vascular diabetes from occuring.
As recommended by the American Diabetes Association, in addition to wearing diabetic socks, you should also follow these 8 tips for healthy feet:
- Inspect feet daily for temperature and color changes or injuries
- Wash and dry feet daily to prevent bacteria growth
- Don’t remove calluses or skin build-up without a doctor
- Trim toenails carefully
- Never go barefoot (always wear clean, dry socks)
- Make sure your shoes fit properly
- Don’t smoke
- Take all foot injuries seriously
Diabetic socks are there to help protect your feet, keep them comfortable, and prevent any serious foot problems. Follow our tips to take sure you’re getting the best ones for you with the best features so your diabetes doesn’t affect your day-to-day life!
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