Are Diabetic Socks Worth It?
If you’ve dealt with diabetes for any length of time, then you know that it gets expensive. Medications, doctor’s visits, healthy foods, blood glucose monitors...it all adds up. So it can be easy to look at “diabetic socks,” as just one more money suck you’re condemned to because you have a diabetes diagnosis.
But are these socks really just a gimmick?
Let’s get the whole story.
What are diabetic socks?
Diabetic socks are socks meant to protect the feet. They are specially designed to prevent the development of foot problems among those living with diabetes. Their features are engineered to address all the common issues diabetics face when it comes to their feet, namely by keeping the feet dry, temperature-stable, free of restriction, and protected from injuries to the skin.
“But don’t all socks keep my feet safe?”
To some degree, yes, but there are many issues that standard socks just are not equipped to prevent.
Your regular socks are probably made out of cotton, for example. For all its attributes, cotton is not ideal for wicking away sweat and keeping your feet dry. Feet that remain moist after exercise are at risk of developing bacterial and fungal conditions, which, if untreated, pose serious hazards, especially among diabetics.
Diabetic socks help promote evaporation by using the same type of materials as exercise clothing does.
The goals are accomplished through moisture wicking material, which helps sweat to evaporate quickly. This feature also keeps feet cool in the summer. Thicker socks, often made of warm materials like wool, help to keep feet warm in the colder months, promoting optimal circulation.
Diabetic socks are also non-elastic to avoid any slowing or prevention of circulation that regular socks may cause. This may seem excessive, but think of all the times you’ve removed your socks at the end of the day only to see a ring of indentation around your ankle. For non-diabetics, this is not a problem and will likely disappear within a few minutes. But for those living with diabetes, anything that reduces circulation to the feet has the potential to cause long term damage.
These socks are also seamless, so you don’t have to worry about pesky rubbing producing blisters. Special padding in sensitive areas and areas susceptible to friction with shoes or other objects also helps to prevent injuries like this. Do your socks do that? In someone with neuropathy this is essential, as without it small injuries can go unnoticed and turn into serious issues.
“They’re ugly, though. They look like they’re for old people.”
Just as the diabetic shoe market has expanded far beyond boring white sneakers, diabetic socks are now available in countless colors and styles, including subtly-colored crew socks to complement your office wear and wild-patterned knee socks to keep your spirits light They also now feature a variety of different medical advantages, from specialized gel padding to anti-fungal properties.
Choosing between your health and your appearance should not ever be a difficult decision, but now it doesn’t have to be one at all.
What about the cost?
Monetarily, there’s no question that diabetic socks are worth the price. An average pair of diabetic crew socks on Diabetic Sock Club costs less than $2 when bought in a pack. That is the same price as standard crew socks found on Amazon, less than the price of a Starbucks coffee, less than a quarter of the cost of a monthly Netflix subscription, and less than 1% of the cost of all the clothes you likely buy throughout the year. So why wouldn’t you choose to get the ones that best promote the health of your feet, the things that carry you through your life each day? After all, you have to buy socks anyway, you might as well get good ones.
But that’s just the surface level. What about all the medical costs you can avoid by properly caring for your feet with inexpensive diabetic socks? With these simple, accessible and affordable tools, you can potentially avoid spending thousands of dollars on foot care products and treatment. You could eliminate the need for ointments to treat infections, visits to check on slow-healing wounds, and crutches or canes to help you get around with limited feeling in your feet.
That’s not to mention that you can avoid the costs of some of the most serious side effects of diabetic neuropathy: amputation. Gangrene, which is the spread of dead tissue--from damaged nerves or a slow-healing wound, can necessitate an amputation. If not performed, the dead tissue can spread from the extremities and infect more and more areas of the body.
Over 70,000 amputations are performed on diabetics every year, and each one costs about $70,000 dollars, not including the rehabilitation and additional care needed afterward. You don’t want to deal with these numbers.
Spending less than $2 per pair on diabetic socks now could literally save you an arm and a leg later. So is there even a question?
The moral of this story is that you only get two feet, and so you should aim to keep them around for quite a long time. That’s why diabetic socks are absolutely worth it--they keep your feet safe, dry, temperature-stable, and circulating, and carry only a tiny price tag. One of the easiest ways to make sure you’ll be walking comfortably for years to come is just to be a bit proactive and get yourself some diabetic socks.
However, it is important to note that while diabetic socks are a great tool for prevention of foot problems, you should always see your doctor if you’ve already developed an issue. Slow-healing wounds, unusual odor, and continuous pain in legs are all signs that something is wrong and you should check in with your doctor. Diligent care is the best way to prevent foot problems from developing, so check your feel daily and take all precautions against foot injury.