If you have diabetes, it is important to take care of your feet. Poor blood sugar control can damage the nerves and blood vessels leading to the feet. Foot injuries can quickly lead to problems in people with diabetes.
Even if you don't have foot problems right now, you should keep your feet clean and dry, and wear socks and shoes at all times.
Diabetic socks are designed with many features that directly address disease-related foot problems.
Moisture-wicking socks draw moisture away from your feet and allow sweat to evaporate, reducing the risk of fungal infections and preventing odors. The drier your feet are, the better you can prevent blisters and other wounds from appearing. Acrylic fibers are better at wicking moisture than cotton.
Diabetic socks often have no seams at the toes to reduce the risk of friction and blisters that can lead to ulcers, especially in people with neuropathy or chronic hyperglycemia (high blood sugar). Diabetic socks also sometimes have white soles to show wound drainage that may not be felt.
Some diabetic socks are made from fine-textured fabrics, such as bamboo and wool, which have natural antibacterial properties and are less likely to be abrasive to the skin.
Diabetic socks are designed to stay up late without squeezing the calf, which restricts blood flow.
To prevent the growth of bacteria and fungi, some socks are made with copper or silver infused yarn, which has been shown to have antifungal properties. Copper-infused socks can also prevent reinfection of athlete's foot on subsequent wears. These socks also provide odor protection.
Additional padding can help prevent foot injury and can be made from sewn extra thick fabric or a gel or silicone pad. Look for padded diabetic socks that match the type of activity you're doing: Add extra padding to the heel if you're standing for long periods of time, for example, or under the ball of your foot if you run or exercise a lot. Toe pads may be helpful for people who play sports like tennis or soccer.
Some diabetic socks are embedded with sensors that track foot temperature to alert wearers through an app, for example, that an ulcer is forming. They have a coin-sized battery on the outside of the sock near the ankle. These socks usually last around six months.
Diabetic socks come in a variety of lengths, from faceless styles to ankle to sailor to calf-length and over-the-knee. The latter may be the best option for those with circulation issues.
Diabetic Health Socks are specially designed to:
Improve blood flow to the feet
- keep your feet dry
- cushion provided
- Protect your feet from cuts and other injuries
- Keep fungal infections off your feet
Why Do Diabetics Need Special Socks?
If you have diabetes, you are at higher risk for foot injuries and foot injury complications. Elevated blood sugar levels can damage nerves in the feet and cause circulation problems.
Nerve damage (called peripheral neuropathy) makes it harder to feel sensations in your feet. You can injure your feet unknowingly, and delaying treatment can lead to foot ulcers.
Circulatory problems make wounds more difficult to heal by reducing blood flow to the injured area. Good blood flow helps speed healing by delivering fresh nutrients and oxygen to the wound.
Elevated blood sugar can also cause your immune system to respond more slowly. When your immune system is sluggish, wounds don't heal as quickly as they should, and infections can linger. In severe cases, tissue can die, leading to foot amputation or even death.
That's why it's so important to take care of your feet if you have diabetes. Clean, soft, non-shrinking diabetic socks should be part of your overall foot care program.
Here are some important things to look out for when buying quality diabetic socks:
- Flat or no seams to help prevent blisters
- Moisture-wicking materials such as bamboo diabetic socks
- Elastic material that does not restrict blood flow
- Extra cushioning in the heel and ball of the foot
- Fits well without wrinkling or wrinkles
- Soft material that does not create friction
Compression stockings are designed to put pressure on the legs to improve blood circulation back to the heart. People with varicose veins and blood clots can benefit from wearing compression stockings.
It's important to know that people with diabetes have up to four times the risk of peripheral arterial disease (PAD), which can cause narrowing or blockage of the arteries in the legs. Because compression socks restrict blood flow to the legs, people with diabetes and PAD should not wear them.
Good quality diabetic socks provide gentle pressure and help improve circulation.
Should you wear diabetic socks?
Neuropathy makes it hard to feel hurt, so you may be walking around with blisters or debris all day long without even knowing it. If you have peripheral neuropathy, you should wear diabetic socks regularly.
Preventing injuries and infections is key to avoiding amputations of toes, feet and legs. Limb loss is preventable—in fact, experts say 80 percent of amputations can be prevented with good foot care.
Even if you don't have peripheral neuropathy, it's a good idea to keep at least a few pairs of diabetic socks with you if you have diabetes. Wear it when exercising, standing and traveling.
More tips for protecting your feet
If you have diabetes, wearing diabetic socks is an important way to protect your feet. You can also do other things.
Check your feet every day. Even if you're wearing shoes and socks, your feet can hurt. If you have diabetes, check your feet at least once a day. Schedule reminders on your phone or calendar. Examine your entire foot, top and bottom, and look between each toe. Also, check the skin around the toenails. Look for small cuts, blisters, or corns; if they are bright red, swollen, bloody, or produce pus or an unpleasant smell, seek medical attention right away. If you're having trouble checking your feet, use a mirror or phone camera, or ask a friend or loved one for help.
If you suffer from neuropathy, avoid going barefoot. Walking around barefoot can be very dangerous if one or both of your feet feel diminished. You can easily hurt your foot without knowing it. If you don't like bulky shoes, even thin slippers or ballet slippers are better than nothing.
Trim your toenails regularly and wash your feet daily. Overgrown toenails can ingrown and rub against your shoes. They can also hide small cuts or blisters. Trimming your toenails and washing your feet daily is especially important if you have neuropathy; even a quick rinse can help wash away dirt and bacteria.
Wear good shoes. It pays to buy quality shoes that fit well and don't squeeze your feet. Friction can cause blisters, which can lead to foot ulcers.
Change socks as soon as you sweat. If you stand a lot during the day or sweat easily, change your socks regularly. Also, change your socks immediately after a hike, walk, or exercise. As a rule, carry extra diabetic socks with you and change socks midway through the day.
These are the daily things you can do to care for your feet. Your doctor will advise you on how to improve your blood sugar levels through diet, exercise, and medication. If you notice a problem with your foot, such as blisters or corns that don't heal well, don't wait—see your doctor right away.