People with diabetes have a greater chance of developing neuropathy, vascular disease, and infections, especially in the legs, so socks and footwear that reduce or eliminate pressures or hot spots is important. A diabetic sock is a non-restrictive, but close fitting sock which is designed to alleviate pressures on the foot or leg. Typically sufferers of diabetes are the most common users of this type of sock. Diabetes raises the blood sugar level, which can increase the risk of foot ulcers. Diabetic socks are made to be non-restrictive to circulation, but if inclusive of Medical Grade, FDA regulated gradient compression, they may include venous compression for enhanced blood circulation.
Proper diabetic socks also help to manage moisture, a feature which can reduce the risk of infection. Another beneficial feature of diabetic socks is seamless toe-closures to avoid pressure, potential hot spots and blistering.
Various sock constructions are available, including cotton blend with stretch tops, non-cotton with antimicrobial properties, compression type, and plain non-binding to allow circulation to flow more freely. Extra wide socks are available for excessive edema. So-called "non-binding" versions should not be loose to the point of having wrinkles, which can cause hot spots. The ideal sock for Diabetes will be treated in the fabric fibers with an antimicrobial that lasts the life of the sock.
Diabetic socks may appear like regular socks, and are available in many leg lengths. Although various colors are available, white may be preferable for people with open wounds or sores, as this could alert wearers with compromised sensation to a draining wound. The diabetic socks should fit well, without constricting cuffs, lumps, or uncomfortable seams. The socks are generally made of material that does not wrinkle. The advice of a podiatrist may be helpful in choosing a diabetic sock.
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- Sockwear Recommendations for People With Diabetes - Feldman and Davis 14 (2): 59 - Diabetes Spectrum