Unfortunately, as a result of the potential effects of high blood sugar on circulatory and nervous systems, diabetics are prone to many skin conditions like bacterial and fungal infections, dermatopathy and diabetic blisters. Many of these conditions affect the feet. What's more, if diabetics develop nerve damage, they may not feel injuries in their extremities, especially on the bottoms of their feet.
In addition to checking feet regularly, keeping them clean and moisturized, and keeping them protected with proper footwear, it may be a good idea to wear diabetic socks. These are specially designed to keep feet dry and avoid slowing blood circulation. These socks are typically made of materials that wick away moisture, and they're fitted but nonbinding, so they don't reduce circulation. Benefits of diabetic socks include that they don't have elastic at the ankle, because that could constrict blood flow and cause swelling and discomfort.
Not all diabetics need diabetic socks, but it's a good idea to consider them if you have experienced changes in your foot health, including any irritation, nerve damage, blisters or infections. Some people wear them simply to minimize moisture if they tend to experience a lot of sweating in the foot area.
A good diabetic sock will:
- Be made from moisture-wicking material and keep feet dry.
- Have antimicrobial features that prevent infections.
- Increase comfort and decrease swelling.
- Keep feet warm and improve circulation.
- Be seamless and non-elastic so as not to constrict blood flow or rub against feet to irritate skin.
- Include extra padding for sensitive areas, like the soles of the feet.
- Be soft in texture.
- Typically be light in color so that injuries to the bottom of the foot can be easily spotted.
Considerations For Diabetic Socks
In choosing the right socks for you, consider:
- They can be made from many materials, including bamboo, acrylic and merino wool. Most of these materials have antimicrobial properties.
- Most diabetic socks have extra padding, but some might have padding in the ball of the foot (ideal for athletes) or heels (for people who spend a lot of time standing) or even the toes (for tennis and soccer players).
- Styles and lengths. These vary greatly.
- Smart socks. The latest developments in diabetic socks include brands that electronically monitor pressure, moisture and foot joint angles to minimize development of ulcers.
Note that diabetic socks are different from compression socks, which put pressure on the legs to help circulate blood back to the heart. Sometimes, compression socks are recommended for diabetics to help maintain proper circulation in the extremities, but they would never be recommended for a diabetic with peripheral arterial disease, and they can sometimes increase the risk of ulcers when that's a concern. The best advice is to speak to your doctor about what's right for you.
Shop the full line of Total Diabetes Supply diabetic socks and compression socks for all your needs. We also offer a full line of other diabetic foot care products, like creams and special shoes.