Diabetes is increasingly becoming a national health problem, with nearly a tenth of the population of the US having diabetes and many more on track to develop it. With this increase in diabetes, products are being developed to help individuals with the side effects, such as compression socks for diabetics.

A study by researchers Carol B. Feldman and Ellen D. Davis clearly tells us why a diabetic with neuropathic complications – otherwise known as diabetic foot – should use diabetic socks.

Explaining Diabetic Foot

Diabetic peripheral neuropathy, or neuropathic complication, causes pain in the legs and feet and of diabetics. The most probable cause of this condition is injury to the small blood vessels that supply blood to the nerves. Diabetes damages the immune system, thereby reducing a diabetic's ability to heal injured blood vessels, and tingling foot pain is a part of life for many diabetics.

In addition to neuropathic complication, diabetes can cause a clogging of arteries, which makes them hard and unable to adequately supply blood to the legs, feet and other extremities, also resulting in diabetic foot.

The Benefits of Diabetic Socks

Certain types of socks for diabetics – known as diabetic socks or compression socks – can help reduce symptoms of diabetic feet. Diabetic socks are designed to “fit well, without constricting cuffs, top bands or seams,” and use select materials that cushion the feet against injury and retain less moisture.

Moisture can lead to bacterial infection, which can, in turn, cause ulcers. Compression socks can be constructed out of special synthetic materials that help reduce the chance of foot ulcers by retaining less moisture than normal socks. In addition to bacteria, normal and minor injuries can cause ulcers in diabetics. Diabetics often have decreed pressure sensations which, in conjunction with a reduced ability to heal, can contribute to ulcers. For this reason, socks for diabetics often have heavily padded cushions to reduce the risk of injury.

Shopping for Diabetic Socks

Here are some features to look for when shopping for diabetic socks:

Advanced and improved moisture control. Moisture can lead to infection and ulcers. A good diabetic sock will be made of a material that has a wicking effect, so moisture is pushed away from the skin. With advances in synthetic materials, ideal diabetic socks should have made a combination of synthetic fabric and wool or cotton.

No constricting cuffs. Diabetic socks should have cuffs and top bands that are not made of constricting elastic material, such as with normal socks. Restrictive cuffs can cause vascular and nerve damage by blocking the flow of blood.

Soft, densely padded cushions. Properly cushioned compression socks reduce the chances of blistering and calls by decreasing vertical pressure on the feet.

No pressure points or seams. Socks for diabetics should not have seams, which may create pressure points and contribute to foot injury.

Anti-microbial and anti-fungal elements. Certain elements such as spandex and silver fibers are known to help feet “breathe.” These materials are ideal for use in socks for diabetics, as they help reduce moisture and the risk of infection.

Lightly colored. Some researchers and specialists recommend diabetics wear lightly colored socks, so deformation, skin discoloration and wounds are easily noticed and promptly treated.

A comfortable, well fit. Measure your legs before buying compression socks, as whatever socks a diabetic wears should fit well and be comfortable.