High blood sugar from diabetes can cause damage to the nervous and circulatory systems. Those with diabetic nerve damage can experience decreased sensation in their feet—making their feet prone to injury. Using diabetic socks can help keep feet dry, enhance circulation, and reduce the chance of a foot injury.
Benefits of Diabetic Socks
Diabetic socks are not necessary for everyone with diabetes but can provide benefits for those who need them. Those who can benefit from wearing diabetic socks instead of regular socks have:
- Sweaty or moist feet
- Change in color of feet or are experiencing blisters or a fungal infection
- Changes in foot temperature
- Diabetic nerve damage
- Peripheral artery disease
Women who are pregnant and have gestational diabetes can benefit from wearing diabetic socks. The socks can help reduce swelling of the feet that can occur with pregnancy.
Diabetic socks are ideal for travel since they can reduce swelling and the risk for blood clots caused by sitting for long periods of time. If you plan to travel by plane, look for socks with light compression that can help with circulation.
There are many benefits of wearing diabetic socks over regular socks such as:
- Cushion feet from friction to prevent ulcers and blisters from developing
- Provide mild compression for increased blood circulation
- Lightweight and breathable
- Designed for comfort and fit
- Do not constrict the feet
- Protect sensitive pressure points of the feet
- If your foot is injured, blood is visible on the material
- Protects against bacteria and infection
- Reduces odor
- Minimize risks involved in future amputations
Diabetic Sock Features
You can find diabetic socks online, at retail stores, and at pharmacies. When shopping for diabetic socks, look for features such as:
- Moisture-wicking material. You will want socks made from acrylic fibers that can wick away moisture from your feet and keep them dry.
- No seams. Socks made without seams at the toe can reduce rubbing and minimize the risk of blisters at the toes which can cause ulcers to develop.
- Padded soles. Diabetic socks are designed with padded soles to add cushioning and comfort. These soles can often be done in white fabric so that blood from an injury or draining from a wound can easily be seen if not felt.
- No top elastic. Socks for diabetics are made without top elastic that can cut off circulation and restrict blood flow to the feet.
- Length. Diabetic socks come in a variety of lengths from ankle to over the knee. The higher length is ideal for those with circulatory issues while other lengths are fine for everyday wear.
- Antimicrobial properties. Many diabetic socks are made with copper or silver-infused yarn to prevent bacteria and fungal growth. These socks not only are antimicrobial but also can prevent odors.
- Soft yarn. You can find socks made from soft yarns such as bamboo or wool. These socks are soft against the skin and can guard your feet from blisters caused by friction.
- Wrinkle-free. There is no extra fabric in diabetic socks so they stay wrinkle-free and reduce discomfort.
Caring for Your Socks
Most people are advised not to go barefoot and to wear diabetic socks daily. With frequent wear and washing, your socks may need special care. Most socks last around six months with proper care.
To care for your socks, wash them in a mesh laundry bag and either let them air dry or dry on low heat. Remove any pilled fabric and replace your socks at the first sign of wear. Check your socks regularly for any holes or rips and dispose of them when this occurs.
Contact a Podiatrist Today
If you have questions about caring for your feet with diabetes or are experiencing any type of foot pain, contact Greater Washington Advanced Podiatry. Our office can provide a free initial consultation and create a custom treatment plan to get you back on your feet. To set up an appointment, fill out our contact form or call us at (301) 515-FEET.