Why are diabetic socks so important for diabetics?
Unfortunately, a side effect of diabetes is a tendency to succumb to foot sores and ulcers, the consequences of which can be very serious (infection / amputation). Consequently, diabetic socks play a very important role in the health of a diabetics feet. Diabetic socks improve circulation and minimise the likelihood of a diabetic getting foot sores and/or ulcers.
Is there a difference between diabetic socks and normal socks?
Diabetic socks differ from your normal tube sock in so far that diabetic socks have been designed specifically to let your feet be free. By this I mean diabetic socks are non-restrictive, they control moisture, have a looser cuff so the elastic doesn't cut into your leg or restrict circulation. Keeping your feet healthy should be a priority, as diabetics generally have poorer circulation and so need to keep the blood flowing freely to keep their feet healthy.
How diabetic socks can help?
The US National Institutes of Health and National Library of Medicine suggest if you are a diabetic you are more likely to have foot problems than a non-diabetic.
The reason is diabetes can damage the nerves in your foot and consequently makes it difficult to feel pressure sores, ulcers or other problems. Often diabetics don’t even notice they have a foot problem until the problem is so significant it is hard to remedy without serious medical intervention. Unfortunately for those with diabetes find it harder to fight infections, meaning any foot sores, cuts or ulcers take longer to heal. Like anything though prevention is often better than cure and so diabetics can manage the health of their feet via regular health check-ups and foot inspections.
The Institute for Preventative Health suggests the following tips to care for your feet:
Look and feel for any:
• Bumps, blisters or bruises;
• Differences in temperature between parts of skin, as this can also be a sign of poor circulation;
• Pain, tingling or numbness, which may be a sign of nerve problems;
• Ingrown toenails with red, puffy skin along the nail or loss of hair on the foot, again a sign of poor circulation.
If you have any of these signs or symptoms do seek medical attention immediately.
How to look after your feet:
• Go and see a Podiatrist and seek advice on your foot’s health and how to prevent foot problems;
• If you have any numbness, tingling or loss of feeling in your feet you need to take additional precautions to avoid sharp objects;
• Never walk around barefoot, even inside your house. (Wear your diabetic socks around the house instead);
• Wash feet daily using lukewarm water and after washing, dry your feet thoroughly, apply some moisturiser to the top and bottom of your feet – not the toes as this can promote fungal growth;
• Do not cut your toenails if you have neuropathy or other foot problems related to diabetes. Instead see a podiatrist for toenail care and foot examinations;
• Do not ever use wart removers or any other harsh chemicals on your feet.
On your feet:
• The Institute for Preventative Health suggests wearing only properly selected and fitted padded socks with shoes with non-slip outsoles (Studies have shown that wearing clinically tested padded socks can help prevent diabetic ulcerations);
• Diabetic socks made from acrylic and acrylic blends have been proven be best for the diabetics. Avoid one hundred percent natural fibers like cotton or wool as these socks retain moisture and make your feet vulnerable to foot sores, ulcers and other irritations;
• Don’t wear the same pair of shoes every day. Try and rotate between your shoes and change your diabetic socks daily;
• See a foot professional for the right shoes;
• Check inside shoes daily for sharp points, sharp edges or seams that may lead to cuts on your feet;
• Do not cross your legs for long periods of time as this can reduce the blood flow and create pressure points;
• Try and walk as much as possible as by doing so aides circulation to your feet.