The Ultimate Guide to Diabetic Compression Socks

picture of a person with socks on the feet in the back yard sitting on sofa

Diabetes is a chronic disease that may need lifelong medication and care. There are several health issues that might arise, some of which impact the foot. Namely, diabetes can lead to infections, nerve damage, and poor blood circulation. These health problems can make it difficult to heal wounds and even put a person at risk for amputation.

If you have diabetes, you should take good care of your feet. That means checking them every day for any cuts, sores, or other issues. You should also wear specialised diabetic compression socks or stockings to help improve circulation.

What are Diabetic Socks?

picture of person wearing socks standing on a carpet

In simple terms, these socks are designed to improve blood circulation and prevent foot complications related to diabetes. They’re generally made from a soft material, such as cotton, and have little to no elasticity. This helps reduce the risk of constricting blood vessels and further reducing blood flow.

If you’re interested in the details, here are some additional features of diabetic compression socks:

  • Seamless: Socks with seams might irritate your skin and create blisters or sores. The majority of diabetic models lack seams altogether, or they’re placed in areas that won’t cause friction.
  • Moisture-wicking: Keeping your feet dry is essential for avoiding skin illnesses.
  • Breathable: Breathable textiles aid in temperature regulation and prevent fungal growth. Most of them are made from natural materials like cotton, which allows your feet to stay cool and dry.
  • Warm: Proper insulation is important for circulation, especially in the winter months. This is why you’ll normally find thicker fabrics and materials like wool in diabetic sock models.
  • Squared-toe box: Narrow, pointed shoes can damage your toes and worsen nerve pain. A square-toe box that’s roomy enough for your toes can help prevent this problem.
  • Fitted: Many diabetic socks are tailored to your foot size for a snug, comfortable fit. This also helps them stay in place and prevent bunching, which can reduce circulation.
  • Padded: Padding in the sock softens and protects the foot from injuries or bruises.

Why Is It Important for Diabetics to Protect Diabetic Feet?

Diabetes patients have a higher rate of foot issues than non-diabetics. Because blood arteries in your legs and feet can be damaged, affecting circulation, promoting edema, and increasing your risk of infection, it’s essential to take care of these extremities.

You should strive to get them checked once a year by your diabetes healthcare professional. A foot exam usually includes a visual examination of your feet for edema or symptoms of illness, as well as tests to determine your level of sensation.

Benefits of Compression Socks

picture of person putting socks on wooden floor while sitting on a sofa

Given the importance of foot care for diabetics, it’s no surprise that compression socks have become a popular choice. Here are some of the benefits they offer:

Protect the Feet from Damage

The cushioned soles and soft material of most diabetic compression socks help protect your feet from injury and further damage. The shock-absorbing qualities can also reduce the impact of walking and running, which is beneficial for those with diabetes-related foot pain.

Prevent Swelling in the Legs and Ankles

If you have diabetes, you might experience swelling (Edema) in your legs and ankles as a result of impaired blood flow. Wearing compression socks can help reduce this swelling by promoting circulation and preventing fluid build-up.

Prevent Diabetic Foot Ulcers

Diabetic nerve pain, or neuropathy, is a common complication of diabetes. It can cause burning, tingling, and numbness in the feet and legs. This can be quite painful and make it difficult to walk or stand for long periods of time. Specialised diabetic socks with compression can help alleviate this pain and provide much-needed support.

Tips for Putting On Prescription Compression Socks

picture of person putting on diabetic compression socks in front a blue background

If you’ve been prescribed compression socks, it’s important to put them on properly to ensure they’re effective. First, make sure your feet are clean and dry. Then, gently roll the socks up your leg, being careful not to crease them. Once they’re in place, smooth out any wrinkles or bunches.

You should also consult with your healthcare professional to make sure you’re wearing the right-sized sock. If they’re too tight, they can constrict blood flow and cause pain, while socks that are too loose won’t offer the desired level of compression.

Caring for Your Socks

Taking care of your socks is important to make sure they last and continue to offer the desired compression. Most models can be machine-washed on a delicate cycle, but it’s always best to check the care instructions first. You should also avoid using fabric softener, as this can diminish their efficacy.

When it comes to drying them, most experts recommend air-drying to prevent shrinkage. If you must use a dryer, make sure to set it on a low or delicate setting to avoid damaging the fabric.