Diabetes is a debilitating and chronic condition that negatively impacts the lives of millions and millions of people worldwide.
It’s not at all uncommon for folks living with diabetes to suffer from a variety of health issues – health issues that include poor circulation, a major medical problem that can lead to a number of different complications (including the loss of life and limb).
And while there have been a number of major medical advances released over the last 30 years to help fight back against diabetes, more and more people are turning to compression socks to help them improve their blood flow and circulation, cut down on swelling, and alleviate a lot of the pain they were feeling before.
Finding the right diabetic socks, though, is nowhere near as simple or as straightforward a process as many people think it’s going to be at first.
For one thing, there is an almost unlimited array of diabetic socks options out there to pick and choose from. Worse, it seems like every pair of diabetic socks from every manufacturer promises even more than the rest – and it’s dubious that all of them are able to live up to expectations.
Secondly, most people have never had to wear diabetic socks in the past and aren’t sure of exactly what to look for or the benefits that diabetic socks might bring to the table.
Combine that with the fact that many people aren’t even sure if these kinds of socks are going to deliver real results – a lot of people wonder “do compression socks even work?” – and it’s easy to see why we put together this detailed guide.
Below we dig into (almost) everything you need to know about using compression socks to improve blood flow, to eliminate varicose veins, to strengthen and oxygenate your blood vessels, to fight back against foot ulcers, and to resolve all kinds of other foot problems that diabetes brings to the table.
Sounds like pretty lofty promises, right?
Let’s dig in and learn a little more!
Before we get into the nuts and bolts of everything you need to know about choosing high-quality socks to fight back against diabetes, it’s important to understand what diabetes is and what it’s doing to your body (and your lower extremities specifically) first.
Diabetes is a major medical condition that impacts the way your body uses blood sugar (glucose).
Glucose is critical for healthy body function, providing a source of energy for all of the cells throughout your body. Insulin is a naturally produced hormone that regulates glucose levels in your blood – but folks living with diabetes either aren’t able to produce enough insulin or cannot use it effectively, resulting in the diabetic condition.
The overwhelming majority of people suffering from this disease are suffering from what’s known as type II diabetes. Type II diabetes occurs when the body cannot any longer effectively use insulin or stops producing enough of it.
Type I diabetes, on the other hand, is an autoimmune condition that you are born with, a condition where your immune system actually destroys insulin producing cells located inside of your pancreas.
Type I diabetes is considerably more rare but will have just as devastating an impact on your legs and feet as type II diabetes will.
One of the things that makes diabetes so insidious, particularly when it comes to nerve damage in your legs and feet, is the way that it cripples your circulation.
Higher blood sugar levels are going to wreck your blood vessels over time, stagnating blood flow to your legs and feet. That’s going to lead to a whole host of serious health problems that range from swelling and discomfort to numbness, pain, and an inability for your body to heal injuries on your feet and legs.
This can lead to amputation in extreme circumstances.
Compression socks are specifically designed to provide a little bit of extra cushioning strategically to your legs and feet. Graduated compression gently squeezes your lower extremities without ever becoming uncomfortable, improving your circulation while cutting down on swelling big time.
This is hugely advantageous for pain relief but it’s also great for pushing back against the more debilitating symptoms that diabetes inevitably brings into the equation.
Quality compression socks (especially knee-high compression socks) will help protect you against conditions like Deep Vein Thrombosis and ulcers, amongst other issues.
At the end of the day, you’ll feel a lot less pain, you’ll enjoy improved circulation, and you won’t have to flood your body with potentially dangerous pharmaceuticals and chemical cocktails to keep the negative impacts of diabetes and check.
We are not suggesting that the best compression socks are going to eliminate diabetes forever – that’s not what they are designed to do, not by a long stretch.
But they’ll certainly help you manage pain, cut down on more serious problems caused by circulatory issues, and can help put you on the right path as far as your health and wellness are concerned.
All for a very minimal investment!
All that said, it’s critically important that you choose the right socks when you are getting ready to protect your health with these solutions – and there’s a lot more that goes into buying the different types of socks out there than you might think at first blush.
Here are some of the more important considerations you’ll want to keep in mind:
Compression level – Perhaps the most important of all the different factors to consider is the amount of compression the socks you are purchasing offer. Most diabetic socks are going to have a reasonably high level of compression, but it’s up to you to find the right pair with the right amount of “squeeze” for your needs.
Fit and sizing – Quality diabetic socks are going to fit you like a second skin, gently squeezing and massaging your sensitive feet without ever being too tight or too sloppy. Socks that fit well are going to hug your feet without becoming uncomfortable, but they aren’t ever going to be so loose that the benefits they should be delivering are nonexistent.
Material choices – All of the best socks for diabetics feature moisture-wicking materials, compression zones to help with nerve damage and foot pain, and are going to shield your skin from bacterial and fungal infection, too.
Length – Always shoot for a pair of these socks that are little bit on the longer side of things, closer to knee high socks than ankle cut socks. This will help even out the sensation of pressure the compressive properties deliver, but will also make putting on and taking off the socks much easier as well.
Extras – On top of helping you fight back against diabetes, really great socks are going to help with arthritis, are going to help prevent blisters, are going to have a little bit of extra cushion, and are even going to be a little bit warm without making your feet sweat. No slip grips on the bottom, silicone mixed in with cotton, and other little additions and extras may be worth a premium price tag to you as well.
For starters, you can’t go wrong with with quality of these compression socks. Made in the USA, from high quality textiles, you’ll be able to wear these for years and years. The relief you’ll get won’t “release” over time, either.
Aside from that, though, you can also enjoy a gentler and more relaxed level of compression because of the length of these socks. They aren’t going to give you a death hug, but instead a gentle massage – all day long!
These stockings are made from a blend of 98% Polyester and 2% Spandex, something that makes them highly breathable and very comfortable with great moisture-wicking properties. These stockings are recommended for folks suffering from diabetes, struggling with circulatory problems, or challenged with neuropathic issues, too.
You’ll never have to worry about these socks slipping down, binding up, or being challenged with odor issues, either. That’s thanks to the anit-microbial properties these have because of the copper woven into the fabric.
These diabetic footwear products are made up of a blend that includes 85% Polyamide and 15% Spandex, material choices beloved for their compressive properties but also for their breathability and temperature control properties, too.
Athletes and runners absolutely love these socks, but folks with circulatory issues and diabetes (as well as those that want to speed up a recovery from foot injuries) will love them, too.
A nylon blend that can stretch without losing compressive properties, these socks are wonderful for folks that have calves a little on the wider side of things. Instead of having to struggle with smaller sized socks that will squeeze too hard, these socks are perfectly made for your body – and will give you the sweet relief you’re after!
On top of that, because of the length of the socks and graduation of the pressure offered you’ll see relief almost instantly. We’re not talking a little bit of relief, either. We’re talking significant, life changing relief – and an all day release of pain, to boot.
You’ll love these socks!
Those on the hunt for a more natural material combination in their compression socks will want to take a closer look at these ones.
Made up of 31% Merino Wool, 31% Bamboo Rayon, 30% Nylon, and 8% Spandex, it doesn’t get a whole lot better than this. The reinforced toe box and heal section make them really durable, but the natural materials are never going to irritate the skin of folks that are more sensitive to technical fabrics.
If you’ve ever wondered if compression socks work you’ll want to try these out ASAP. They’ll give you a definitive answer straightaway!
Made of 70% Nylon, 10% Lycra Spandex, and 20% Spandex they make the most of modern technical fabrics to help people with diabetes overcome the foot pain, foot swelling, and circulation problems they are struggling with.
It doesn’t hurt that these socks are stylish and available in a whole run of sizes and colors.
These socks are almost completely nylon (92% with 8% spandex mixed right in), offering a high level of compression while remaining very lightweight, super breathable, and almost impossibly comfortable.
As far as the standout feature is concerned, people with diabetes are going to love the almost completely “seamless” construction of this sock. You won’t have to worry about your feet or your toes getting your attainted when you have them on.
A little bit of extra padding in the heel and toe helps boost the comfort of these, too.
Three different materials go into one pair of these socks – 35% nylon, 20% spandex, and another 45% of polyester.
Made intentionally for people with diabetes that are dealing with swelling and circulatory issues, these socks have a little extra stretch into little extra comfort built into them compared to some of the other choices.
Produced from a combination of 78% Nylon and 22% Spandex, these socks have a little bit of stretch to them, little bit of “give”, but still provide the right amount of compression for those with circulatory concerns. They do a great job with temperature control and moisturewicking, too.
Though there are a range of benefits these socks offer folks with specific needs, there are four core benefits that helps separate these socks from the rest of the pack:
Improved circulation – The biggest benefit of the bunch for those suffering from this debilitating medical condition, these socks are going to gently squeeze and massage your lower extremities to improve blood flow and improve circulation. That’s a game changer all on its own.
Big cut downs on swelling and edema – You won’t have to worry about swelling (especially swelling caused by excess fluids, edema) anymore when you are wearing these socks on a regular basis. All that fluid that would have otherwise built up will be moved safely through the rest of your body.
Better comfort and more mobility – Say goodbye to all the pressure that used to build up in your lower extremities, pressure caused by diabetes and lower levels of circulation. The grippy bottoms on most of the socks we highlighted above will help you feel more stable as you move around, too.
Reduced risk of diabetic complications – While not a cure all by any stretch of the imagination, regular and consistent wearing of these socks will certainly help you to prevent issues like deep vein thrombosis, peripheral artery disease, and other complications that can be brought about by this medical condition.
Before we wrap up here, it’s important to touch on the value of finding the right level of compression for this kind of footwear – especially if you plan on wearing these on a regular basis.
Mild compression – These are perfect for people that are experiencing more mild swelling and discomfort in their lower extremities. You’ll see a boost to circulation, a reduction of inflammation, and certainly more comfort and support without wearing something that really squeezes you.
Moderate compression – These are something you’ll want to reach for when you are dealing with more moderate to significant swelling, are struggling with varicose veins, or are dealing with all kinds of aches and pains. This level of compression is going to cut down time on inflammation while improving your circulation dramatically. These are recommended for those with DVT (deep vein thrombosis), too.
Firm compression – Only people that have severe swelling, chronic venous insufficiencies, and other more serious complications are going to want to wear firm level compression on a regular basis. This is the level of sock where they become difficult to put on and take off on your own.
Extra firm compression – This is almost a prescription grade sock and not something that you’re going to want to be wearing on a regular and routine basis without express medical directions imploring you to do so. Healthcare professionals need to be in on the decision to where this kind of sock. You should anticipate quite a bit of difficulty trying to get them onto and off of your leg, too.
You can’t fool around with diabetes.
A very serious medical condition that can have huge implications on how you live your life from day-to-day, you need to be smart, you need to be strategic, and you need to be serious about how you treat this disease.
Though they aren’t a cure for this condition by any stretch, the right socks with plenty of compression can eliminate pain, cut down on swelling, improve your circulation, and help you lead a happier and healthier lifestyle while reducing the risk for more serious complications down the line.
Use the inside information we shared above to help you push back against inflammation and swelling with the right socks and watch as your quality-of-life skyrockets almost overnight!
These kinds of compression socks have been specifically designed to apply a strategic amount of pressure to your feet, to your ankles, and to your legs – all independently of each other area. You’ll see huge improvements to your blood flow, a major reduction in swelling, and a big-time cut down on inflammation when you start wearing these more often. Pain relief happens almost right away.
There are almost too many benefits to wearing these kinds of socks when you suffer from this medical condition to list here. You’ll enjoy protection against blood clots, boosted blood circulation, reductions in swelling and inflammation, and almost immediate pain relief. You’ll lead a happier and healthier lifestyle after you’ve made the switch.
The challenge you’re going to have here is finding the right options for your needs, and the right options to fit your feet with the perfect amount of compression. Think about material choices, fit and finish, comfort and flexibility, compression level, and all the other things we highlighted earlier in this guide.
Absolutely, these kinds of socks can be worn by anyone living with diabetes – but it’s definitely something you want to bring up with your doctor and medical experts before you take the plunge. As we have highlighted a number of times throughout this guide, this condition is no joke and is very serious. Take all of the things you’re using to treat this condition serious, including your choice of socks and footwear.
There’s no real one-size-fits-all solution for caring for these products. Follow the manufacturer instructions to the letter – particularly when it comes to washing and drying – and you won’t have anything to worry about.