Does Clothing Really Help You Manage Your Diabetes Condition?September 26, 2019
Patients struggling with diabetes often suffer from poor circulation, especially in their extremities. This condition, known medically as venous insufficiency, can cause complications like peripheral edema, diabetic foot ulcers, and deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Wearing compression wear is one way to help maintain proper circulation.
What is Compression Wear?
Compression wear is a category of specialized clothing designed to reduce pressure in the extremities. It includes things like compression stockings and socks for diabetes. These socks and stockings are usually non-elastic and seamless, minimizing friction to the nerves and constriction from foot swelling.
Why Is it Necessary?
Patients with diabetes are at elevated risk of developing foot ulcers from peripheral neuropathy, or a lack of feeling in the extremities. When small cuts or scrapes go unnoticed, they can ulcerate and turn into serious conditions. Diabetic socks are designed not just to provide more pressure on the foot and less on the calves to assist with circulation but also to prevent minor injuries from rubbing and poorly fitted shoes.
What Makes Them Different?
Diabetic socks are designed to help their wearers move blood from their feet and toes back into their legs so it can circulate through their bodies. They’re also designed to offer a loose fit at the calves and provide extra padding for the bottoms of wearers’ feet. Diabetic socks resist wrinkling and feature flat seams, which further helps with minimizing blisters.
When Should Patients Wear Them?
Some patients need to wear diabetic socks all the time. Patients with nerve damage can avoid frequent foot injuries by sticking to these specialized socks, and those who suffer from decreased pedal pulses are definitely good candidates.
Not all diabetics are prone to swelling, irritation spots, and sensitivity to temperature changes in all conditions. Some only need to wear diabetic socks when they are in situations that force them to sit for hours at a time. It’s still worth investing in some good socks for those occasions.
How Are Diabetic Socks Different From Compression Stockings?
Diabetic socks are designed to help patients manage their swelling and avoid the minor cuts and scrapes that often lead to ulceration. They’re sometimes referred to as compression stocks, but compression socks and compression stockings are different things.
Compression stockings typically cover patients’ entire legs and they’re designed to increase constriction to facilitate the movement of blood back to the heart. Diabetic patients who also suffer from peripheral artery disease may need to invest in both diabetic socks and compression stockings.
Other Diabetic Clothing Options
Until recently, patients who needed insulin injections multiple times throughout the day had to retreat to the bathroom every time they needed a dose of their medications. Today, diabetic fashion designers have created more convenient alternatives such as dresses, shorts, and pants that feature zippers for easier access and conveniently placed pockets to make carrying insulin pumps less of a hassle. While these clothing items differ from diabetic socks in that they’re accessories rather than absolute necessities, they can still make patients’ lives much easier.
The Bottom Line Living with diabetes can be tough, especially when patients also struggle with other health complications like nerve damage. With the right medicine and effective medical equipment, most diabetics find that they’re able to engage in all the same activities they love. Diabetic socks absolutely belong on the list of clothing that can help patients manage their symptoms.