Wrap your feet up in the right diabetic socks
Foot problems are a common and unfortunate complication of diabetes. According to 2011 statistics from the National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse, more than 60 percent of non-traumatic leg amputations are the result of diabetes. The need for amputation often begins with small foot ulcers that go untreated or do not heal properly, notes the Mayo Clinic. Choosing the proper socks can help keep you safe from feet-related diabetes complications.
5 things to look for in diabetic socks
Those who deal with nerve damage, loss of sensation, ulcers or other foot problems can be quick to tell you that not all socks are created equal. What looks like the perfect sock can wear blisters on your feet by the end of the day, and that spells bad news. Before you reach for any random pair of socks at the department store, keep these points in mind.
- Look for seamless socks. These socks provide a smooth covering for you foot and have no seams that can rub against your skin. Even the smallest seam can be the starting point for a blister on your foot.
- Socks should be non-binding. Some socks have tops that are a bit tighter than the rest of the sock. This is meant to keep socks firmly in place. However, those with diabetes should avoid socks with binding, as this can lead to pressure on the foot, ankle or calf, and that pressure can lessen blood flow.
- Socks should always be clean, dry and well-fitting. Socks made of cotton or wool are best for keeping your feet dry. If your socks get wet, soiled or don't feel 'right' on your feet, take them off immediately and replace them with a fresh pair.
- Look for socks designed for those with diabetes. These socks are seamless, non-binding and have a wicking fabric that pulls moisture away from your skin. Some provide gentle compression that can increase circulation.
- Choose socks that are light-colored. This can help you spot signs of injury, such as scrapes, cuts and ulcers, as soon as you remove your shoe. Early treatment for such problems can lessen the chance of long-term complications.
Popular diabetic socks brands
There are numerous manufacturers who make socks designed for those with diabetes. Some of the most popular brands today include MediPeds, Dr. Scholls, SmartKnit, TheraSock, Wigwam and X-Static. Many of these brands can be found at department stores or pharmacies; if not, they are all available online. Test out several different brands of socks to find the one that suits you.
Unfortunately, Medicare and most health insurance policies won't cover diabetic socks. Therapeutic shoes and inserts are often covered with a doctor's prescription. No matter the socks you choose, remember to check your feet before you put the socks on and when you take them off. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that over half of diabetes-related amputations could have been prevented with patient education and regular exams. By checking out your feet every day, you can prevent small issues from becoming big complications.
American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society