Diabetic Socks: They’re Different
As we peruse non-specialized socks for purchase, we often have many sock features to choose from, including material, length, thickness, arch support padding, elasticity, and more differences. Diabetic socks also have a plethora of characteristic choices but, in many respects, they come with custom options, each purposed to help protect feet and relieve diabetes symptoms in their own way.
Which one you choose is a personal decision, often between you and your doctor. But, before you can choose the best option for you, you need to know what customizations are offered. To prepare you to make the most informed decision, let’s explore the characteristics available in custom diabetic socks.
There are six features to consider when choosing the right diabetic sock for you:
Seamless: non-custom socks often have a seam that runs along the toe of the sock. These seams are dangerous for diabetes suffers; they rub against toes, making way for friction injuries such as blisters and ulcers. For this reason, across the board, diabetic socks are made without them.
Moisture-wicking: Moisture is often a culprit of dangerous fungal infections in diabetic feet. With breathable fabrics, diabetic socks offer a buffer, — or moisture-wicking ability — thereby protecting feet from sweat and humidity to prevent fungal infections from forming. In addition to protecting against fungal infections, this buffer also helps to impede blister formation. This is critical because when infections combine with injuries in diabetic feet, the consequences can be dangerous and long-lived.
Anti-Microbial: We’ve already talked about the dangerous combination of foot injuries and infections in diabetic patients. To prevent this danger, in addition to moisture-wicking abilities, many diabetic socks come in anti-microbial materials such as wool, bamboo, charcoal, and some are even made with gold and silver threading — all natural anti-microbial materials that prevent infections from forming. As an added plus, these materials also nix ugly foot odors.
Non-binding and well-fitted: For many, an obnoxiously fitting sock means a day full of annoyances but the disadvantages often end there. Diabetic patients, on the other hand, should be very careful to find the right fit. If your foot is constricted or if sock material is bunching or rolling, you stand the chance of forming a difficult-to-manage (at best) foot injury.
As such, diabetic socks should be form-fitting but not constrictive. Remember, you may already have vessel constriction that slows healing. Further constriction worsens this complication. Diabetic socks come in materials that may hug the foot via non-binding materials. This means they don’t overly constrict feet like compression socks can often do. The square-toe feature also helps you to avoid constrictive, friction-enabling and, thereby, moisture-enabling conditions around the toes.
On a side note, if you experience edema — or swelling in your legs and feet — alongside your diabetes, there are ways to manage the combination of diabetes and edema. Do your research and ask your doctor about the disadvantages and benefits of slight compression socks for diabetes/edema management to learn if they are appropriate for you.
Padded: Not only do diabetic socks come in different material thicknesses but they offer padding-distribution options as well. Think about your daily activities and your hobbies. If you walk around on a cement floor or path for hours on end at work, school, home, or in your community, consider a sock that offers padding around the heal. If you are a dancer, you may need padding elsewhere on your feet, depending on where you most lean on them. The goal in choosing a padding distribution and sock thickness is to protect your feet against discomfort and, thereby, avoid pressure sores from developing.
Length: We’ve discussed the need to manage decreased circulation in diabetic legs and feet. Along with sock fit, sock length is also a tool for managing this complication. Socks that cover your calves and knees can help to improve circulation, provided they are non-binding around your feet, ankles, legs, and knees. In this way, lengthier socks assist with wound healing and even low-blood-pressure-associated swelling in legs and ankles.
Diabetes Toolkit: One More Tool
Managing diabetes for a healthier, more fulfilling life involves more tools than the obvious lancets, glucose meters, syringes, insulin, and test strips. Diabetes control is not merely controlling the culprit: high blood glucose. It’s also managing — or, even better, preventing — the countless complications that arise throughout the human body as a result of high blood sugar levels. Your feet are a blessing, facilitating some of life’s most treasured activities: engaging with loved ones in shared activities, and working to meet your personal- and professional-life goals.
Add another tool to your diabetes management toolkit. Find and use the right diabetic socks to not just add comfort to your days but to clear the path for a more fruitful life. When any sock just won’t do, explore your diabetic-sock options and talk with your doctor about your diabetes symptoms to find the right fit for you. We’ve hope we’ve helped get you started toward a more comfortable diabetic life!