Find out what are diabetic socks and how they compare to regular socks
The American Diabetes Association estimates diabetes affects 25.8 million Americans. For many, it’s a daily struggle to control their blood glucose levels; meals are smaller and days are sequenced in order to fit in insulin injections, medications, and exercise.
Approximately 5 percent of the afflicted have type 1 diabetes — usually diagnosed in children and young adults — in which the body doesn’t produce any insulin. Type 2 diabetes — the most common form of the disease — occurs when the body doesn’t produce enough insulin or the cells simply ignore the insulin.
In order to live a long and full life, it’s imperative for patients to learn all they can about the disease, visit with their local physician and specialist regularly to get all the facts, and work towards creating both a healthier body and mind. A part of that involves taking care of one’s feet.
Diabetics are at a higher risk factor for foot problems as the disease progresses. In the case of nerve damage (i.e.: resulting in a loss of feeling) associated with the onset of diabetes, a patient may not be able to feel cuts, bruises, or damage to their feet until serious problems arise: skin breakage, infection, and worse.
In essence, how does one go about protecting their feet from these potential complications? Below, we’ll take a look at the need for proper foot care, helpful diabetes-related links, as well as delve into the efficacy of diabetic socks and how they compare to regular brands.
So, read on to learn more about the subject of diabetes-related health. You’ll be glad you did!
Proper Foot Care
To protect yourself against potentially life-altering foot complications, it’s important to take good care of your feet. Firstly, a condition known as neuropathy (nerve damage) can affect diabetics and cause lessened sensation in the hands, feet, arms, and legs over time. Secondly, poor circulation can result in a body’s lessened ability to respond to problems and heal them.
So, how does a person protect themselves from the onset of diabetes-related foot problems? The American Diabetes Association offers a wealth of information on their website. Foot care is discussed in-depth and includes ideas for better foot health, such as:
- Checking your feet every day
- Getting out and being more active
- Understanding your target blood glucose range and staying within it to the best of your ability
- Wearing special shoes
- Applying lotion to your feet on the tops and bottoms of your feet to smooth the skin; be sure not to apply between the toes
- Washing your feet every day
- Wearing shoes and socks at all times
- No smoking
What are Diabetic Socks?
Made from a combination of cotton, acrylic, elastic, and nylon fibers, diabetes socks differ from regular varieties in that they promote better comfort while keeping the feet dry and cool. But, is this actually the case?
Detractors note (of regular varieties) that the seams may also cause calluses and blisters by coarsely rubbing against the skin. Regular cotton or wool brands are said to be too tight, and thus effective in reducing circulation.
Do the diabetes varieties work as advertised, though? Are they better options than the regular socks?
Diabetic vs. Regular
According to a Vanderbilt.edu paper by Adam Porter, the jury’s out on the efficacy of the diabetic sock. While many wearers mention comfort as a main selling point, many doctors, nurses, and CDEs — mentioned in the paper — preferred cotton or wool rather than the synthetic blends of sock made specifically for diabetes.
For those who exercise on a regular basis, the diabetic version of sock can be a boon for its users. They work to wick away sweat and moisture from the foot/skin, and thus, assist in keeping the area dry despite vigorous activity. This will limit the ability of fungi to grow by keeping the feet dry.
So, essentially, the jury’s still out. But, no matter which you choose, it’s important to remember:
- Always wear some kind of sock and shoe — At all times
- White will allow for maximum visibility when it comes to noticing injuries or calluses on the feet
- Purchase brands without any uncomfortable seams within; make sure they don’t fit too tightly as that will restrict circulation, as well
So, what are diabetic socks? They’re designed for increased comfort, sweat-wicking power, and insulation. In the end, though, the care and attention you pay to your feet is an integral part of your healthcare.
American Diabetes Association: Living With Diabetes.
Above photo attributed to Seth W.