Socks – the unsung hero of the foot world. You rarely hear “Oooh, I love those socks! Where’d you get those socks?” But even without the ooohs and aaahs, they do their job. And when you choose socks for diabetics, you’re choosing superheroes.
Why You Need Socks
Checking your feet regularly is crucial, but there’s more you can do. Feet can be a major issue in diabetes self-care, primarily for two reasons:
- Diabetic neuropathy—If diabetes damages the nerves in your legs and feet, you may not be able to feel a foot problem (infection, injury, etc.). Nerve damage can also affect muscle function in the foot, changing alignment and causing pressure spots.
- Peripheral vascular disease—Diabetes has a negative effect on blood flow. “Peripheral” refers to blood flow in the arms and legs. And low circulation puts your feet at risk of foot ulcers or even gangrene.
What Socks Should Be
- Socks should be worn. The American Diabetes Association recommends wearing shoes and socks at all times.
- Socks should be seamless. Socks for diabetics need to minimize pressure spots and areas of abrasion that could cause sores or restrict circulation.
- Socks should be white or light colored so you’re more likely to notice any blood or discharge. The earlier you catch foot problems, the earlier you can start treatment.
- Socks should be breathable and able to wick away moisture, which can encourage infections.
- Socks should be warm—with low circulation comes cold feet.
What to Avoid
- Compression socks—it’s generally a good idea to avoid compression socks since circulation is already a problem. But if you have edema in your legs, your doctor may approve mild compression therapy. A Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology study showed that it improves edema without constricting circulation.
- Dirty socks—because germs increase the risk of infection.
- Loose socks—the material can wrinkle and bunch, creating pressure spots and abrasions.
The right socks for diabetics can be an important ally in the struggle towards health. Let them be your hero.