First off, what is diabetes?
Diabetes mellitus, or simply diabetes, is a chronic and life-long condition caused by excessive and abnormal amount of glucose or sugar in the bloodstream. Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas; it is responsible for helping cells to take in glucose to be used for energy, and store it for future use.
However, when a person suffers diabetes, the glucose levels in the body are too high. It’s either the insulin in the body cannot work properly as it should, or that the pancreas cannot produce enough insulin or it cannot make insulin at all.
So how does diabetes affect your health? Unfortunately, diabetes leads to several serious and even life-threatening complications: blindness, kidney failure, heart ailments and damage to the nerves (diabetic neuropathy).
For diabetics, numbness in the arms and feet is common caused by this diabetic neuropathy as well as circulatory problems. If not checked and prevented, this can ultimately lead to amputation, and diabetes is the major cause of limb amputations.
Diabetes has no known cure, although there are several medications and treatments that help diabetics extend their lifespan and allow them to live as normally as possible.
Because of the growing awareness towards this complex disease, there is a growing number of special equipment, supplies and even articles of clothing that promise relief and ensure prevention of serious complications. Have you ever heard of socks for diabetics? Unbelievable, but such socks do exist! Find out about this different type of socks and how they can help improve foot health of diabetics.
All about diabetic socks
While diabetic people do not see these socks as a requirement, they can help in dealing with foot problems since they are more prone to a variety of foot ailments, infections and injuries.
Diabetic socks are specially made to minimize pressure in the foot and lower leg, prevent blistering and reduce accumulation of moisture. As a result, diabetics need not to worry about enduring harmful and serious health consequences as a result of these.
The following are the special features that make diabetic socks different to regular socks:
Socks for diabetics are made from a combination of materials such as acrylic, charcoal, merino wool and bamboo, added with spandex for stretching properties. The combination of these materials enables these socks to wick moisture, while spandex is less constricting compared to elastic which is used in conventional socks. Otherwise, elastic can inhibit circulation, and circulatory problems are one of the complications of diabetes.
2. Anti-microbial properties
When bacteria (or fungi) and moisture go with injury, the complication will become more dangerous and even life-threatening for diabetics. Since diabetic socks have bamboo, charcoal and wool which have their own natural anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties, they can help in preventing the growth of bacteria and fungi which can cause foot infections.
Diabetic socks usually have extra padding and cushioning designed to protect the feet’s more sensitive areas from injury. Of course, these features also provide increased comfort for the diabetic wearer. There are diabetic socks whose paddings have different thickness levels. You can choose the kind of padding you want depending on your lifestyle, the level of your activity or specific needs.
These socks are made from wool, which is known to be warmer than cotton. These socks can warm the feet, helping in improving circulation.
5. White sole
The purpose of white sole in a diabetic sock is to alert diabetic people to the presence of wound.
Diabetic socks should be loose and should not feel too constricting, which can otherwise curb good blood circulation.
Compression socks vs. diabetic socks
Although compression socks are different to diabetic socks, diabetics may also wear them. While diabetic socks are designed to reduce pressure on the foot and the lower legs, compression socks apply pressure on the lower extremities to enforce circulation and therefore increase the blood pressure back to the heart.
As you would expect from compression socks, they feel tight and constricting compared to diabetic and even traditional socks. Compression socks do not have anti-microbial properties as diabetic socks have. Plus, compression socks may not wick moisture, which means that moisture and sweat can accumulate in them.
The following is the best diabetic socks brand in the market:
When should you need to wear diabetic socks
Wear diabetic socks as you would when wearing regular socks when going to school or work. Or if you are recovering at home or in a hospital, you should wear them from the time you get out of bed and until before bedtime. It’s better to be protected with these socks to prevent your feet from injury and infection, as well as reducing the friction on your feet from the surface of the floor.
Made of 90% cotton, 7% polyester and 3% elastane, these socks is a combination of protection, comfort and style. They feature cushioning and is non-restricting to your feet but at the same time they fit so perfectly that they won’t slip off of your feet. Great for both genders.
Designed for women’s feet only, these socks are made with 70% bamboo which acts as an anti-microbial, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal agent. These non-binding socks are guaranteed to protect diabetic women from the risk of infection, and promote good blood circulation at the same time. But they do not feel tight; instead, they provide the right amount of comfort which is also of paramount importance for diabetic women looking for a snug pair of socks. Available in sizes 9 to 11.
This is made of 91% cotton, 7% nylon and 2% spandex for an overall comfortable and non-restricting feeling. Each sock is equipped with Microban anti-microbial technology that helps in preventing bacterial and fungal growth that causes a variety of foot infections.
Dr. Scholl’s is the name you can trust when it comes to foot care. Their socks are made from 95% polyester, 4% other fibers and 1% spandex for a snug, comfortable and non-constricting fit. It is equipped with the trademark Silvadur anti-microbial technology that destroys bacteria and fungi growth. As with other diabetic socks, this one also has the anti-sweat feature which helps in keeping your feet nice and dry.
For those diabetics who want to wear not too long socks, these ankle socks are what you are looking for! Made of 90% cotton and 10% nylon, these non-binding, non-restrictive socks are also a great fit that allows you to do your daily activities without worrying too much about foot injuries.