Millions of people suffer from diabetes, and one of the many problems this disease causes is poor circulation in the feet. This could worsen and prompt further complications if not given the proper medical care.
If you're one of the millions diagnosed with this disease, it's important to take care of your feet as much as you can. Compression socks are a good way to start, but there's something called diabetic socks that offer even more benefits. Let's take a closer look.
Effects of Diabetes on Your Feet
It's no secret that diabetes can create serious health complications—some stranger than serious—and could be life-debilitating if you don't do anything about it. Here are just some of the effects diabetes can cause to your feet.
It can be difficult to maintain optimal foot health if you're experiencing diabetic neuropathy on your feet. Not only do the nerve damage and tingling sensations make it hard to walk or stand without pain, but underlying conditions like heart and bladder functions can also put you at a greater risk of developing further complications.
Gangrene is the death of your body tissues because there's not enough blood flowing to one or more parts of your body, like your feet. When blood circulation comes to a halt, and your feet are cut off from any blood, they turn greenish-black. You'll either feel some pain in the affected area or total loss of feeling. It's almost like your feet are mummified.
You know the saying, "weak in the knees?" Charcot foot is similar to that but taken to a more serious degree. Charcot foot refers to the weakening of the bones on your feet, which is a complex effect of diabetes. As a result, your feet lose their original shape, bone density, and function until you can barely walk.
In the Most Severe Cases, the Need for Amputation
If it gets to a point where there's too much tissue loss or the infection is already spreading to your body, you may have no choice but to amputate the affected area. This could be your toes, foot, or even the entire lower leg.
Diabetic Socks vs. Compression Socks
Not to be confused with compression stockings, as this pair squeezes your feet, resulting in constricted blood circulation, diabetic socks have a lighter and more breathable fabric to help with blood flow.
What Diabetic Socks Can Do for Your Feet
With the decrease of sensation on your feet, it is only crucial to take extra steps to protect them. These special socks are designed mainly to encourage blood flow on your feet. But let's talk about the specifics:
Prevents Cuts and Blisters
With zero seams and extra padding, diabetic socks protect your feet from having cuts and blisters where they normally occur—on your heel or your toes. If you move around or have a standing job, these helpful pairs will prevent your feet from having blisters or corns.
Improves Blood Circulation
Diabetic socks still have some degree of compression but are not as uncomfortable as using compression socks. In addition, having mild compression on your feet will improve your blood flow so that your feet can receive enough oxygen and nutrients.
Keeps Your Feet Dry
When you have diabetes, soaking your feet causes the skin on your feet to dry even more, resulting in cracked heels. So as much as possible, you want to avoid getting injured since it is difficult for your blood to clot. Diabetic socks can have padded materials for added comfort and moisture-wicking features for moisture absorption to avoid any fissures or injuries.
Who Should Wear Diabetic Socks
Should you wear diabetic socks if you are diagnosed with diabetes? Not necessarily. But if you walk a lot, you might want to purchase a pair or two. The people who benefit from this podiatric solution are:
- Those with foot issues
- Those with sweaty feet
- Women with gestational diabetes
- Those with a low pedal pulse
How to Find the Best Pair for Your Diabetic Feet
If you want to try out a pair, you should consider these features to get the best diabetic socks.
Seamless and Soft
No seams reduce any friction on your feet, minimizing blisters or preventing foot ulcers. You should look for soft yarns such as bamboo or wool to avoid abrasion on your feet. Both materials also have natural antimicrobial properties to fight off infections.
Instead of locking the moisture in, diabetic socks pull the moisture away, keeping your feet dry. This feature lowers the risk of any fungal infection that will cause foot problems such as the Athlete's foot.
Diabetic socks long women are made to give your feet a mild compression without restricting blood flow but not so loose that the socks will come off easily.
Some diabetic socks have gel or silicone pads or thicker fabric on the soles or heels for support and protection from foot injuries.
Besides its fabric material, diabetic socks are infused with anti-fungal silver or copper yarn. It also prevents foot odor.
Depending on your preference or need for blood flow, you can choose either diabetic socks ankle women, or even over-the-knee socks. Diabetic socks women find stylish are hard to come by. But fashion isn't our priority here.
Even socks are getting smarter. With coin-size sensors embedded in the sock, it can monitor foot temperature to help avoid diabetic foot ulcers.
Where to Buy Diabetic Socks
You can purchase a pair of diabetic socks from online shops like Amazon, pharmacies, and stores specializing in foot care. They aren't your ordinary pair, so it is a bit pricey, but it is worth spending on compared to hefty medical bills and an amputation.
How to Maintain Your Diabetic Socks
Diabetic socks have the same care instructions as regular socks. However, you shouldn't just throw them into the washing machine. Either put them in a mesh bag and wash them in a mild setting. Another way is to hand wash your socks. With proper care, your diabetic socks will last for six months.
We suggest that you throw away over-worn diabetic socks that already have holes or rips. They will harm your health and your wallet more than you expect.
How to Keep Your Feet Healthy
Have you already bought diabetic socks? Do you think your foot problem stops there? Unfortunately, no. You can do more to maintain your feet and even improve their condition.
Observe Your Feet Regularly
Pain or no pain, do your due diligence and look at your feet now and then. Be wary of the following foot conditions:
- plantar warts
- athlete's foot
- warm spots
- ingrown toenails
Wear Good Shoes
Athletic shoes and orthopedic shoes are comfortable footwear that can support your feet. There are also custom-fit orthotics that you can ask from your podiatrist or a foot specialist when you do your checkups.
Don't Go Bare
When you have diabetes, it is most likely you can get neuropathy. If that's the case, you can't go running or walking around a house cluttered with toys and knick-knacks without shoes. Likewise, if something falls or cuts your foot, you wouldn't feel them. Thus, it's better to protect your feet with shoes.
Trim and Clean
Grooming your feet is a simple yet overlooked step, but it is as important as any other care tips we have. Properly trimming and washing your feet will help fight bacterial infections and avoid any foot issues caused by nails such as an ingrown.
Regulate Your Blood Sugar Level
This tip is a no-brainer whether you're a Type 1 or Type 2 diabetic patient. Eating healthy foods with less sugar, exercising regularly, and taking your maintenance drugs keep your blood sugar level low and stable for proper blood flow.
Keep in Touch With Your Foot Doctor
After being diagnosed with diabetes, it's important to visit a podiatrist and other doctors to check on body parts that might have been affected. Also, if you feel something is off, perhaps the blister or cut on your feet isn't healing at all, contact your doctor right away.
Change Your Socks Often
You can't afford to have your feet stew in sweaty socks all day, even your diabetic socks. So halfway through the day or after exercising, we suggest that you change your socks into fresh, dry ones.
Diabetes is a serious disease that can negatively affect the entire body, including the feet. However, by taking some simple precautions and wearing diabetic socks, you can help keep your feet healthy and avoid some of the more common problems associated with diabetes. We hope this article has helped educate you about diabetes and its effects on the feet. Take a step into Ergotoes for helpful foot care blogs like this one!