Diabetes is a chronic disease that requires lifelong treatment and care. Many complications can occur, some of which can affect the feet. If you have diabetes, you are at risk for serious complications such as foot infections. Inadequate and consistent diabetic foot care can lead to amputations of the toes, feet, and even the entire leg below the knee. Good foot care, such as choosing the right socks, is essential to prevent possible complications.
diabetes and your feet
People with diabetes are at risk for complications related to high blood sugar levels. One such complication is nerve damage (neuropathy). The most common type of neuropathy affects the nerves in the feet.
Symptoms of diabetic neuropathy include:
Numbness in feet and toes
- severe pain in the feet, worse at night
- tingling or burning sensation in the feet
- muscle weakness
- Foot deformities and ulcers
If you have diabetic neuropathy and you lose feeling in your foot, you may hurt and never feel it. For example, pebbles stuck in your shoes can rub against your feet and cause small ulcers. If you don't check your feet for these injuries, they can get worse and become infected. Good diabetic foot care means checking your feet daily for injuries, blisters and infections. It also means wearing shoes that help prevent injury.
What are diabetic socks?
People with diabetes have many different types of socks. Generally speaking, they are designed to minimize foot injury and keep feet dry and warm. Finding the right pair means choosing the socks that best meet your needs.
Here are some features of diabetic socks:
Seamless: Socks with seams can rub against your skin and cause blisters or ulcers. Most diabetic socks are made without them
- Moisture Wicking: Keeping your feet dry is important to prevent skin infections.
- Breathable: Breathable fabric helps keep your feet dry.
- Warmth: Diabetes causes blood vessels to constrict, reducing circulation in the feet. Foot-warming fabric helps improve blood circulation.
- Square Box: Socks that are too narrow can squeeze the toes, causing discomfort and allowing moisture to build up between the toes.
- Fit: Many diabetic socks fit the foot and leg. This prevents loose fabrics from rubbing against the skin and causing injury.
- Padding: The padding in the sock cushions the foot and protects it from injury.
What to Consider When Choosing Socks
Choosing your socks means choosing a pair that meets your specific needs as a diabetic. If you don't have any type of neuropathy, just put on the socks that feel most comfortable. If you have new or worsening symptoms of neuropathy, you should see your doctor immediately to discuss proper foot care.
If you do suffer from neuropathy and are looking for a good pair of socks, consider your current condition. Some people with diabetic neuropathy experience dry and cracked skin on the feet. Socks of softer material may be more comfortable.
If your neuropathy progresses to the point where your feet don't feel, it's important to wear socks that fit well so they don't bunch up and rub against your skin. Seamless socks are also important for preventing injuries.
Sometimes choosing the right socks also means balancing a good fit with a pair that doesn't limit your circulation. If you have poor circulation due to diabetes, avoid socks that are too tight or have elastic tops that can pierce your legs.
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When it comes to diabetic socks, you have many options. If you know your situation, you should be able to choose a pair that meets your needs. If you have poor circulation, pay special attention to the fit. Restricted blood flow to the feet can make diabetic foot damage worse and can slow wound healing. For this reason, compression stockings should be avoided.
Some people with diabetes have poor circulation and edema or swelling in the lower legs and feet. A study in the Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology found that mild compression of socks improved edema without worsening poor circulation. Consult your doctor if you are concerned about circulation and the fit of the socks.
Remember to consider your shoes too. If your shoes can pinch your feet or cause injuries and ulcers, good socks won't help. Diabetic neuropathy can be a serious condition, but if you take care of your feet and wear the right socks and shoes, you can avoid many possible complications.
The case of sleeping in socks
can't sleep cold feet
Cold hands and feet may be the reason why you can't sleep at night. When your feet are cold, they constrict blood vessels and cause reduced blood circulation. According to the National Sleep Foundation, warming your feet before bed helps make it clear to your brain that it's time for sleep.
What's the easiest way to warm feet? sock. Wearing socks in bed is the safest way to keep your feet warm overnight. Other methods, such as rice socks, hot water bottles, or heating blankets, can cause you to overheat or get burned.
Sleep isn't the only benefit of wearing socks at night. Read on to find out how this new habit can change your life.
Why you should wear socks to bed
Besides helping your body stay warm, wearing socks at night has additional benefits:
Prevents hot flashes: Some women find that wearing socks helps lower their core body temperature.
Improves cracked heels: Wearing cotton socks after moisturizing can help keep your heels from drying out.
Increased potential orgasm: According to the BBC, researchers unexpectedly found that wearing socks increased participants' ability to orgasm by 30 percent.
Reduces the chance of a Raynaud attack: Raynaud's disease is when the affected skin area, usually the toes and fingers, loses circulation and begins to pulsate or swell. Wearing socks at night can help prevent flare-ups by keeping your feet warm and blood circulating.
what socks to wear
Socks made from naturally soft fibers like merino wool or cashmere are best. They are usually more expensive than cotton or rayon socks, but they are worth the money. Make sure the socks you choose aren't tight-fitting, which can restrict circulation and prevent proper heating of your feet.
Give your feet a bedtime massage.
Add a natural circulation booster like capsaicin cream to your massage oil or favorite moisturizer. This helps to further increase blood flow.
Sit on the socks or use a hair dryer to heat the socks before putting them on.
One downside of wearing socks to bed is overheating. If you do overheat or feel too hot, take off your socks or put your feet outside the blanket.
What about compression socks?
Avoid wearing compression stockings at night unless prescribed by your doctor. Although they are known to improve circulation by increasing blood flow, they are not meant for sleep. Compression stockings move blood away from your feet and can block blood flow when you lie down.
If your feet are cold all the time, you may have a problem with your circulation. Consult your doctor if you have serious circulatory problems or any chronic disease (such as diabetes).
Can children and babies sleep with socks on?
For babies and children, it is best to avoid electric blankets or hot socks. The safest way to encourage sleep is to include a warm bath as part of their bedtime routine, followed by warm-up socks.
If you choose to use a hot water bottle, make sure the temperature is safe and place a soft cotton blanket around it so that the water bottle does not come in direct contact with your skin.
Always check your baby or child for the following signs:
- red cheeks
- crying upset
If you notice these signs, remove extra clothing or blankets immediately.
Warming up before bed can shorten the time it takes to relax and doze off. This in turn can improve the quality of your sleep. Make sure you wear socks that are soft, comfortable and not too bulky. Talk to your doctor if you have circulatory problems that cause pain and cold feet, or if you often feel cold feet even when they're warm.