Diabetes elevates glucose levels and can wreak havoc on the entire body. It is the feet that often experience problems. That is why for diabetics the choice of footwear is an important component of proper foot care. While many people associate footwear with shoes, the socks we choose are equally vital to healthy feet, but often an after thought. Diabetic socks can help alleviate many symptoms of this disease and protect the feet.
Do All Diabetics Need Diabetic Socks?
Not all people require diabetic socks, but everyone can still benefit from their added comfort. If your diabetes is under control and you experience no foot problems, these socks will not be a necessity. However, if you have high blood sugar that can lead to foot complications, you may want to consider wearing men’s or women’s diabetic socks for better foot health. They can help with symptoms of diabetic feet that include changes in skin, loss of sensation, numbness, cold feet, poor circulation, and slow recovery from injuries.
Comparing Diabetic Socks with Traditional Socks
Traditional socks are just not made for problems that diabetics have with their feet. Normal socks have tight binding tops that leave indentation marks and compromises circulation. They are typically made from 100% cotton. This is bad because cotton soaks up sweat and keeps the feet wet, which is a breeding ground for bacteria. The cotton will likely be rough too since this is the most cost effective for manufacturers. Harsh cotton along with wet socks will cause blisters. Lastly, regular socks are made with bulky seams that are rough against the toes and likely causes irritation. Regular socks does not do a good job of protecting the feet at all.
In contrast, diabetic socks are designed to keep the feet warm, dry, and allows them to breathe. In addition, these socks have loose cuffs that promote better circulation. The seams are noticeable flat and does not rub against the feet nor cause blisters to form. Although they are normally made with wool or cotton, they can also contain elastic fibers, acrylic, nylon and spandex. Socks made from a blend of fibers are always superior to ones that are made with one type of material. Each fiber has its own purpose. Natural fibers are good at absorbing moisture. Synthetic fibers repel moisture to the surface. Together, they absorb and transfer sweat to the top layer of the sock to keep the feet dry. Spandex on the other hand is used to provide a better fit. Socks that form to the feet and retain their shape prevents them from slipping down and bunching up.
Diabetic socks have a lot of great qualities to promote healthy legs and feet. However, one concern is that there are no standard production guidelines for these socks. Some diabetic socks are created with cuffs that are too tight, which can greatly impair circulation. Others may not be made with the proper materials. Understand that just because a label says that a product is diabetic socks does not mean they are good quality or will be good for your feet. At a minimum, make sure the diabetic socks you choose have non-binding tops, flat seams, and soft material.
Foot Care for Diabetics
If you have type 2 diabetes, foot care is very important. Diabetes can damage the nerves and blood vessels to the extremities. As a result, this leads to foot problems such as poor circulation and peripheral neuropathy. When these two problems are combined, injuries can occur that a diabetic may not notice. Foot injuries that go untreated can lead to amputation. Therefore, it is vital that diabetics wash their feet and inspect them on a daily basis. In addition, your doctor should monitor your feet regularly as well, but this cannot be done on a daily basis. Also, inform your doctor if you notice anything abnormal during your daily foot inspections.
Additional Foot Care Tips:
Inspect your feet on a daily basis. Look at the bottom and top of the foot and in between the toes. Be wary of cuts, blisters, calluses, and corns. Basically, inform your doctor about any condition that is out of the ordinary.
Make sure your shoes fit properly. Blisters are caused by shoes that are too small or big. Don’t wear open toe shoes such as flip flops or sandals. Make sure your toes and heels are covered. Any shoes worn should have a soft interior and hard exterior to protect the feet.
Do not use foot heating pads. If neuropathy is present, it will be hard to tell how hot the temperature is, and this can burn your skin.
Seek medical attention if you have concerns about your feet. Be cautious of things such as ingrown toenails, redness, black skin, bunions, hammertoes, or numbness. Also, if you have questions about diabetic socks, speak with your doctor.