Health socks, compression socks, and diabetic socks have one thing in common – they all offer health benefits to maintain healthy feet. Below you’ll find information about each type of socks, what they feature, what to look for when shopping, and what type may best suite your needs. Please remember to consult a health professional before determining what type of socks you should wear.
Socks have vastly changed and improved throughout the years to meet the needs of people who want to have and maintain healthy feet. Wearing quality made socks can dramatically improve the health of your feet so don’t settle for the cheaply made socks because there’s a good possibility that they’re made from poor materials.
Most cheap socks are made from 100% cotton and unfortunately there’s a misconception that people have about this material. Most think that 100% cotton socks are great for feet; but they’re actually more harmful than good because this material absorbs moisture and does not wick it away – in fact, it holds it in and causes a perfect environment for bacterial and fungi growth that can cause athlete’s foot and bad foot odor.
The moisture can also cause blisters, calluses, and hot spots when combined with heat and friction. Socks made out of synthetic fibers or cotton blends are ideal because these materials are durable, lightweight, and hug feet better; some even have anatomical designs to ensure an optimal fit so that there’s less chances of bunching within the shoe that can cause blisters or chafing.
Healthy socks made out of synthetic blends have features that absorb moisture, then wick it away from the foot to reduce moisture build-up. Proper cushioning is also essential for comfort and in some cases, to help reduce fat pad atrophy (the thinning of the fat pads of the foot that serve as natural pads that cushion impact).
Just about anyone can benefit by wearing healthy socks, especially those who exercise and have active jobs. There are numerous styles of orthopedic socks available from hunting socks, to safety steel toe socks, to athletic socks, and even socks that can be worn with dress shoes at the office.
Healthy socks can be the first line of defense against unwanted foot problems such as athlete’s foot, foot odor, blisters, corns, calluses, and in some cases, depending on the amount of cushioning, fat pad atrophy. One doesn’t have to wear the same socks for every activity.
Industrial workers might want to invest in socks that protect toes against toe plates found in most work boots, while professional women might want to invest in healthy dress socks that not only wick moisture, but also have Spandex integration to provide a more hugging fit.
Brands such as Aetrex and Sockwell offer numerous styles for various activities. Their socks are made out of synthetic fibers and come with moisture wicking features, have light padding in key areas at the heel, ball of foot, and toes, and fit snug to the skin to reduce blisters.
Please note: For those suffering from diabetic foot problems or edema, there are healthy socks that are specifically designed for those conditions. Please read below for more information.
Young or old, male or female, active or less active, compression socks may be the answer to great-feeling, healthy looking legs. The light compression ranges (less than 20 mm Hg) are preventative and can be worn by anyone.
They have a dramatic benefit to individuals who stand or sit for long periods of time or have any risk factors, making them predisposed to venous disorders. Frequent air travelers are just one potentially at-risk group, especially those passengers on long flights in coach class seating.
Compression therapy has been repeatedly proven to not only be an extremely effective way to treat venous disorders, but also prevent them from occurring. Proven by medical research, stockings are effective in reducing leg symptoms only when the compression is graduated (the pressure being greatest at the ankle and sequentially less up the leg). Today incredibly sheer, lightweight and fashionable products are available in compression stockings.
The circumference of the limb and the superficial veins will physically be reduced by the compression of the hosiery. When the size of the veins is decreased, blood flows faster, therefore helping prevent blood from pooling and the chances of developing thrombus.
Valve functioning can also be improved by compression therapy. Proper functioning is allowed when the vein diameter is reduced and the valve cusps are moved back to a proper overlapping position. Compression stockings can strengthen the varicosity, making it less visible and less symptomatic.
Today’s styles of graduated compression socks are extremely attractive and comfortable to wear. These support socks have the look and feel of normal dress, casual, or athletic socks with the therapeutic benefits of graduated compression therapy. Lower compression support socks are available for preventative measures to reduce foot and ankle swelling and are great for air travel or when on your feet all day.
As preventative support or for varicosities below the knee, support socks are a great choice. With recent advanced in knitting technology, many new styles of graduated compression socks are now available, including dress socks, casual patterned socks, and athletic support socks with CoolMax® moisture-wicking fibers.
Light: Sheers, 9-12 mm Hg, Fashionable sheer support – the look of regular pantyhose with therapeutic benefits. Preventative support, relief from long periods of standing or sitting, relief from tired, aching legs, mild ankle and foot swelling, mild spider and varicose veins, muscle cramps.
Light to Moderate: Light to Moderate Support, 15-20 mm Hg, Fashionable sheer support – the look of regular pantyhose with therapeutic benefits. Preventative support, relief from long periods of standing or sitting, relief from chronic tired, aching legs, mild ankle and foot swelling, mild varicosities without edema, muscle cramps.
Moderate: Moderate opaque support, 20-30 mm Hg, – the look and feel of fashion tights with microfiber softness. Relief of heaviness and fatigued legs, relief from chronic aching legs, relief from chronic ankle and foot swelling, relief from varicosities without significant edema, post sclerotherapy.
Firm: Heavy Support, Surgical Weight, Standard opaque professional-medical surgical weight support hose. Indicated for chronic foot/ankle swelling and venous insufficiencies.
Anti-Embolism: Opaque medical grade anti-embolism 18 mm Hg (thrombo-embolic deterrent stockings) for pre- and post-surgical procedures. Thrombo deterrent, prevention of venous stasis and thrombo/embolism formation in recumbent (non-ambulatory) patients, post-surgical procedures.
Any individual with symptoms of venous disorders should consult a physician to ascertain the correct therapy for the specific leg condition. The physician should determine the style and compression level.
Diabetic socks are an extremely important for diabetics because they can aid in the prevention of diabetic foot wounds and other foot problems from occurring. Those suffering from diabetic neuropathy of the foot have to make foot care an immediate priority because this condition may lead to loss of sensation, which means if injuries or diabetic foot ulcers go undetected, infection can occur; and if not treated properly, can lead to amputation.
This is why diabetic socks are crucial to maintaining healthy diabetic feet. Socks for diabetics are designed to protect feet from external damage, minimize irritations, offer no or light compression, provide therapeutic benefits, reduce pressure points, and offer comfort. There are numerous women’s diabetic socks and diabetic men’s socks that relieve pressure, have seamless designs, wick moisture, are antibacterial, and come in extra-large sizes for enlarged feet.
There are several things diabetics should look for when shopping for diabetic socks. Different brands offer various styles and each style offers different important features.
Seamless Design: Seamless socks are ideal for diabetic feet because they fit close and snug to the skin. There will be fewer chances of seamless socks wrinkling or bunching in shoes causing potential irritation, chafing, and blisters from occurring.
Light or No Compression: Compression socks are recommended for diabetics with swollen feet. Proven as an effective treatment, compression therapy improves valve functioning to allow faster and proper blood flow to feet. This is accomplished when compression is graduated, or when the pressure is greatest at the ankle and is gradually reduced up the leg. Light compression 15 MM HG or no compression socks are recommended.
Non-Binding Tops: Socks with binding tops can cut off circulation to feet, which could prolong the healing process due to lack of blood flow. When diabetics experience foot injuries, it’s imperative that they take all measures necessary to heal properly; and wearing socks with non-binding tops will allow proper blood circulation.
Wicking: Socks with moisture wicking features will help diabetics keep their feet dry from sweat. Moist sweaty feet can be a breeding ground for bacterial infections and disease-causing fungi that can cause major damage to diabetic feet. Socks with CoolMax® fibers are highly recommended. CoolMax® fibers are lightweight and designed to wick moisture away and speed evaporation of foot perspiration.
No 100% Cotton Socks: Socks made from 100% cotton are extremely bad for diabetic feet. Although 100% cotton is soft, the material has no moisture wicking abilities. Socks made from 100% cotton are less durable and wear out faster, which can cause friction that can irritate the skin. Cotton blend socks made from 60% less cotton and blended with acrylic, nylon, or rayon are recommended.