Article written by Diabetic Sock Club an American owned small business
focused on the health benefits of proper foot care for those living with diabetes.

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The difference between regular socks and diabetic socks

Peripheral vascular disease and diabetic neuropathy are common complications of diabetes. By harming the nerves, neuropathy makes it possible to lose feeling in the legs and feet. Without healthy nerves, one cannot feel whether something is excessively hot or cold or whether they have a cut or sore on their feet. Severe infections and consequences can result from not knowing this. Blood flow to the legs and feet is reduced due to the narrowing of the blood arteries brought on by the peripheral vascular disease. Reduced blood flow causes cuts and sores to take longer to heal, increasing the risk of developing ulcers. Unquestionably, wearing socks can be beneficial to protect your feet. 


While yes, it is common to think that socks are pieces of clothing worn on the feet and often cover the ankle or a portion of the calf. This item of clothing can be modified to increase its significance for the general well-being of your feet.


What are regular socks?


Your use of socks has a significant impact on the health of your feet. Regular socks are worn to prevent the naked foot from rubbing against shoes and wicking moisture away from the feet. Regular socks can also insulate and warm the feet. 


As the seasons change, socks are an excellent method to keep your feet warm, especially in the winter, when the frostbite risk rises.


Regular socks aid in preventing fungal infections like athlete's foot and keeping the feet dry. If socks are not worn, blisters and ulcers on the feet may develop. There are numerous sweat glands on your feet, and if you don't wear socks, the buildup of sweat can result in an unpleasant foot odor.

What are diabetic socks?


Diabetic socks are specifically made, looser-fitting socks that shield the feet from injury and stop skin irritation. Similar to conventional socks, these socks typically contain a unique material that aids in wicking moisture away. This is significant because people with diabetes frequently experience problems with the sweat on their feet, which can result in fungus infections and other issues. 


Thus, the unique design features of these socks—features absent from conventional socks—protect the diabetic foot from further complications and maintain its comfort and health.


What exactly sets diabetic socks apart from regular socks, then?


Regular socks and diabetes socks wick away moisture to keep the feet dry and warm, but the key difference is that diabetic socks have a non-binding construction that won't restrict your circulation. It is essential for people with diabetes because poor circulation is a common problem, and constrictive socks can worsen it.


Diabetic socks are typically made without seams, which is advantageous for those who have neuropathy or chronic hyperglycemia (high blood sugar). Additionally, diabetic socks can have white soles to show a wound's drainage that may not be felt.


Aside from those mentioned above, there are many benefits of wearing diabetic socks over regular socks, such as:


  • Cushion feet from friction to prevent ulcers and blisters 
  • Extra padding in the toes or heels protects your feet
  • Mild compression aid in increased blood circulation
  • Lightweight and breathable materials keep the feet dry and comfortable
  • Designed for fit and comfort 
  • Do not constrict the feet for optimum blood flow
  • Safeguard the feet's delicate pressure points 
  • Defends feet against bacteria and infection
  • Reduces odor
  • Minimize risks involved in future amputations

Features to look for diabetic socks


While being non-binding is an essential feature of diabetic socks, they can also be made with many additional features and considerations. To maximize the benefits of diabetic socks, you can look for the following features.


  • Breathable/moisture-wicking fabric. The blend of materials used determines how much wicking a sock will do. Wearing socks with strong moisture-wicking capabilities will reduce your chance of developing skin conditions, fungus infections, and blisters since they keep your feet drier. For closed-toed shoes, take particular note of these.

  • Cushioned soles. The soles of several pairs of diabetic socks are padded with gel or silicone to give extra support and cushioning for various foot areas. These pads are frequently placed in multiple locations to support various activities, such as extra toe padding for court sports like soccer or extra heel cushioning for persons who spend a lot of time standing.

  • Seamless. For those with neuropathy or persistent hyperglycemia, diabetic socks are often designed without seams around the toe to avoid the danger of rubbing and blisters that could develop into ulcers. 

  • Antimicrobial. To protect against microorganisms that might cause fungal diseases like athlete's foot, several pairs of diabetic socks have copper or silver infused into the yarn. They may also aid in reducing foot odor.

  • Available in lighter colors. Even though the remainder of the sock is darker, some diabetic socks have lighter-colored soles. Since it will stain the sock, this can be useful for identifying a wound that might be draining. Nevertheless, if you have diabetes, you should regularly inspect your feet.

Are diabetic socks only worn by those who have the disease?


No. 


Although they may not appear to be much different from "regular" socks from the outside, they are meticulously made with components and features that can keep people with diabetes comfortable. You don't even need diabetes to make use of them.

Many people might think, "if it's good for those who have diabetes, it might not be necessary for others who don't." However, the reality is that while diabetic socks are unquestionably far more essential for those with specific foot issues, you certainly don't need to have the condition to experience their host of advantages.


Some examples:


  • If you have especially large or thick calves, you may find that a non-binding sock is far more comfortable to wear than socks with tight elastic bands. Additionally, there are unique sizes to accommodate better.
  • Athletes and active people generally love diabetic socks, incredibly seamless, moisture-wicking, and/or cushioned designs. With these sports socks, you might discover that you feel less discomfort and have fewer blisters than with your "normal" athletic socks. (They frequently cost less, too.) 
  • Although compression socks are often recommended for pregnant women, non-binding diabetic socks are frequently a good alternative and may even be preferable in some circumstances. They can significantly increase circulation, assisting you in managing your sore and swollen feet.
  • If you tend to have blisters, foot odor, athlete's foot, or other skin problems, diabetic socks might be a fantastic option.

So, who wouldn't want a pair of socks that promotes blood flow, keeps feet dry, and lowers the possibility of blisters? Almost everyone can benefit.

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