Wondering what the difference is between regular socks and diabetic socks? Here is everything you need to know about diabetic socks and what to look for when choosing a diabetic sock.
It's often recommended that people with diabetes wear special diabetic socks. This is because diabetics are at an increased risk of foot injuries.
Chronic high sugar levels can lead to numbness in the feet and losing the sensation of cold, heat, and pain. If the numbness in your feet is preventing you from knowing about an injury that could delay treatment.
Poor blood circulation is also a side effect of high blood sugar. Poor circulation can cause a variety of problems to your feet by increasing the risk of infection to wounds due to decreased blood flow. Fluid retention and swelling is also common.
What Are Diabetic Socks Used For?
Diabetic socks are designed to be loose fitting and help promote circulation which is a common problem with diabetics. Here are the typical qualities you'll find in a good high-quality diabetic sock.
- Light Colors- Lighter colored socks make it easier to see if there is any bleeding or draining going on in your feet.
- Elastic Free- When you already have poor circulation elastic can contribute to poor blood flow to your feet.
- Seamless- Seams can cause irritation and blisters which may go unnoticed due to numbness.
- Moisture Wicking- Moisture can lead to infections so it’s important to keep diabetic feet dry.
- Cushioning- Thicker padding can ensure that pressure points on the feet are protected.
According to the Center for Disease Control, about 10% of the U.S. population are now living with diabetes and another almost 90 million have prediabetes, which means they are at a very high risk of developing the disease within 5 years if left untreated. It is now the 3rd leading cause of death right behind heart disease and cancer.
You are probably aware of the rapid spread of the disease but did you know that diabetic patients can often improve their quality of life by making a few simple lifestyle changes. As with most diseases, a healthy, doctor approved, diet and exercise regimen can of course help. But be careful and make sure you work with your physician to get a plan that is right for you. Everyone is unique and what works great for one may be detrimental to another. And always have a workout buddy. There have been many cases of a patient’s glucose level bottoming out while working out. This could cause an extremely serious situation if there were no one around to help when it happened.
One major change that could have a huge impact is quitting smoking. If one with diabetes smokes, they are severely stacking the deck against their health. Smoking significantly increases the risk of cardiovascular disease which tremendously ups the odds of having a heart attack, stroke, and or getting cancer in a normal healthy adult. Combine that with diabetes, and a person is certainly headed for health crisis. Consuming alcohol is also something that can complicate things. The sugar in the alcohol can cause glucose levels to fluctuate. Again, please talk with your doctor about how these things can affect your situation. You can also refer to The American Diabetes Association for tips on diet and exercise.
People with diabetes have a greater chance of developing edema, neuropathy, vascular disease, and infections, especially in the legs, so socks and footwear that reduce or eliminate pressures or hot spots is important. Diabetic Socks are non-restrictive, but close-fitting socks which are designed to alleviate pressures on the foot or leg. Diabetes raises the blood sugar level, which can increase the risk of foot ulcers. Proper diabetic socks also help with moisture management, a feature which can reduce the risk of infection. Another beneficial feature of diabetic socks is seamless toe-closures to avoid pressure, potential hot spots and blistering.(from Wikipedia Diabetic Sock)
Foot Care for Diabetics
Take care to pay special attention to foot care and health. With proper care the potential nerve damage and reduced blood flow, which can make even the smallest injury more subject to infection, can be mitigated.
The American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons recommend diabetic patients follow these guidelines:
Inspect your feet daily. Check for cuts, blisters, redness, swelling or nail problems. Use a magnifying hand mirror to look at the bottom of your feet. Call your doctor if you notice anything.
Bathe feet in lukewarm, never hot, water. Keep your feet clean by washing them daily. Use only lukewarm water—the temperature you would use on a newborn baby.
Be gentle when bathing your feet. Wash them using a soft washcloth or sponge. Dry by blotting or patting and carefully dry between the toes.
Moisturize your feet but not between your toes. Use a moisturizer daily to keep dry skin from itching or cracking. But don't moisturize between the toes—that could encourage a fungal infection.
Cut nails carefully. Cut them straight across and file the edges. Don’t cut nails too short, as this could lead to ingrown toenails. If you have concerns about your nails, consult your doctor.
Never treat corns or calluses yourself. No “bathroom surgery” or medicated pads. Visit your doctor for appropriate treatment.
Wear clean, dry socks. Change them daily.
Consider socks made specifically for patients living with diabetes. These socks have extra cushioning, do not have elastic tops, are higher than the ankle and are made from fibers that wick moisture away from the skin.
Wear socks to bed. If your feet get cold at night, wear socks. Never use a heating pad or a hot water bottle.
Shake out your shoes and feel the inside before wearing. Remember, your feet may not be able to feel a pebble or other foreign object, so always inspect your shoes before putting them on.
Keep your feet warm and dry. Don’t let your feet get wet in snow or rain. Wear warm socks and shoes in winter.
Consider using an antiperspirant on the soles of your feet. This is helpful if you have excessive sweating of the feet.
Never walk barefoot. Not even at home! Always wear shoes or slippers. You could step on something and get a scratch or cut.
Take care of your diabetes. Keep your blood sugar levels under control.
Do not smoke. Smoking restricts blood flow in your feet.
Get periodic foot exams. Seeing your foot and ankle surgeon on a regular basis can help prevent the foot complications of diabetes.
Sock.co offers diabetic socks for women and diabetic socks for men in a variety of styles and colors.
Diabetic Compression Socks
Diabetic compression socks differ from regular diabetic socks. They are meant to increase constriction to reduce swelling so that blood can return to the heart. Swelling typically progresses throughout the day so it’s best to put your diabetic compression socks on as soon as you get up. Please consult with your doctor if you’re unsure which diabetic socks you need.
Best Selling Diabetic Socks
Our best selling Diabetic Socks are the Physician's Choice in Crew Length. Give those a try for starters, we also have a few other lengths in that brand. Shop all of the lengths here - Shop Physician's Choice Socks.