Are Compression Socks Good for Diabetic Neuropathy

Are Compression Socks Good for Diabetic Neuropathy?

There are many different ways to bring in good changes that can be assisting in keeping the sugar levels under check. It is essential to include such alterations that help keep the diabetic effects from taking over the body.

Diabetic neuropathy is one such physical sign of distress in the body caused as a result of diabetes. Among some common ways to treat this condition is the use of Compression socks.

Compression socks help combat nerve damages and also prevent the occurrence of this in diabetics. Let us look into greater detail of this issue and how the use of compression socks proves to be beneficial.

What is Diabetic Neuropathy?

What is Diabetic Neuropathy

Among the many changes that can occur in the body as effects of diabetes, one widespread and rather disturbing symptom are Diabetic Neuropathy. Misbalances in the blood sugar levels can cause severe disturbances in the body.

Diabetic neuropathy is a result of an internal injury caused in the nerves resulting from higher than normal blood glucose levels. Diabetic patients are at a higher risk of developing this nerve damage.

People facing diabetes type 2 can develop such neuropathy-related troubles soon after they are diagnosed with diabetes. When it comes to patients with type-1 Diabetes, the screening of diabetic neuropathy should begin around five years of being diagnosed.

Around 50% of diabetic patients who have been suffering from diabetes for a long time have a higher potential to face this nerve disorder that can lead to pain and numbness in the legs and feet.

Diabetic neuropathy can develop problems in various nerve parts of the body, which can affect functioning in several body parts, including legs, urinary tract, heart problems, troubles in the digestive system, etc. This situation should be looked upon, and preventive measures must be followed to prevent any casualties.

CAUSES: High and uncontrolled blood sugar levels over time can result in interferences in the nervous system, hampering the ability to send and receive signals throughout the body.

This is turn, also causes an inefficient supply of nutrients as well as oxygen in several parts of the body.

Other causes of neural disorders along with diabetes are kidney dysfunction, poor control, and management of blood sugar level fluctuations, obesity or being overweight, smoking, etc.

SYMPTOMS: The neural disorder can begin from the legs and feet, and can spread to other areas of the body such as arms, buttocks, back, chest, abdomen, etc.

Certain common symptoms felt in the legs as a result of diabetic neuropathy are:

–         Numbness in portions of the feet and leg, or entire leg.

–         No sensation of the legs towards pain or changes in temperature.

–         Burning as well as Tingling sensations in the affected area.

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–         Non-healing of wounds and cuts on the leg.

–         Deformities in the feet.

–         Increased sensitivity that makes the weight of objects on the leg feel heavier and even painful.

–         Other leg and foot-related diseases and ailments include joint pains, ulcers, pains in the bone, swellings, infections, etc.

–         Discomfort and severe pain.

–         Being unable to stand, sit, or sleep properly.

–         Weakness and shrinking of muscles.

–         Trembling sensations

Etc.

It is best to contact your diabetes specialist or medical team to look at the root of these problems and suggest treatment or medications.

Solutions for this condition of diabetic neuropathy, although it might not be permanent, over time, the management and constant control of your blood sugar levels, foot care habits, etc. can reduce the symptoms and even help in its prevention.

One tool that can assist in comforting this condition, and proves to be good for diabetic neuropathy is the compression therapy instrument – the compression sock.

Diabetes and Compression Socks

Diabetes and Compression Socks

Anyone diagnosed with the typical blood sugar level ailment of diabetes is prone to risks such as – venous insufficiency, DVT – Deep Vein Thrombosis, Blood circulation issues, Peripheral edema, foot ulcers, etc.

Thus, proper care for the foot to prevent such injuries and symptoms is essential for maintenance and healthy life. Socks with compression therapy abilities prove to be great as treatments for foot conditions in diabetics.

Compression socks, what are they? How do these socks work for diabetics?

Well, compression socks are varieties of tightly-fitted sock that help in balancing the pressure in your legs. The compression power of these socks helps in applying a gradient pressure onto your legs. As a result, there is an improvement in the blood circulation in your legs.

These snugly fitting stockings are very different from regular socks. They are made from stretchy and comfortable material specially designed and tailored to apply a certain pressure to the ligaments in the legs and feet.

Instead of the blood resting at the bottom of your legs in your feet, which gives rise to a numb or painful situation, the tight compression socks prevent this collection of blood in the feet and help it rise back up through the veins and continue the circulation efficiently.

These socks are meant to provide comparatively greater pressure on the foot area, instead of the calves. This feature is termed as the ‘graduated compression.’ The subtle heightened pressure on the ligaments of the ankles and bottom of the foot is useful in directing good blood flow.

The compression socks get less tight as the garment moves upward on the legs. As a result, circulation is better maintained, and the risk of blood collection at the bottom of your leg is prevented.

Well, how does it help the circulation?

compression socks

The built and design of the compression socks are made to encourage the oxygen-rich blood flow from the arteries to the muscles, creating a relaxation.

This relaxation leads to a simultaneous pressure on the veins to push more blood towards the heart for continuous circulation of blood.

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The mechanism behind the compression sock therapy encourages blood circulation to parts of the body that have neurological symptoms caused due to diabetes.

Other benefits:

Such compression sock treatments help avoid swellings, wounds, and sensitivity disorders forming in the feet.

Another benefit of wearing compression socks is that it keeps the feet safe. It prevents the risks of foot ulcers, injuries, cuts, sores, etc. that go unnoticed, yet prove harmful for the diabetic neuropathy. They can take a long time to heal completely and can turn into more significant injuries.

A proper-fitting compression sock, according to your feet, creates protection over your feet and fragile toes. Problems caused due to improperly fitted socks or shoes, rubbing of socks leading to skin breakouts, other reactions due to improper circulation, etc. are corrected by the wearing of compression socks.

These socks provide you with tightly fitted, yet comfortable coverage. There are extra-padded areas with a flat seam. These features help reduce wrinkling and decrease friction in the feet to prevent the occurrences of blisters and foot sores.

Characteristic features of Compression socks that make it so helpful for patients to fight diabetic neuropathy:

  1. A Snug fit – The fabric used in the making of socks is chosen from firm materials to avoid loosening and ensure a tight hold of the leg in a good position from the feet, ankle, and upwards. The tight fit helps to provide the necessary pressure on the feet. It is also beneficial to have a tightly fitted sock as the loose fabric from regular socks can often rub against your skin and give rise to injuries, calluses, blisters, and other infections.
  1. Provided Padding in the socks – Padded socks are useful in keeping the leg safe and cushioned. In the case of compression socks, this quality also makes it efficient to apply the correct pressure.
  1. Seamless – All regular socks come with seams. The presence of seams in a sock can make it risky for a diabetic individual’s feet because the seam rubbing against the skin can give rise to blisters, cuts, and ulcers. A diabetic person suffering foot neuropathy can miss out on the sensation of pain the feet. If these wounds go unnoticed, they can take time to heal, and this can result in more significant matters that are harmful.
  1. Breathable quality fabric – Compression socks are made out of sturdy and breathable materials. This helps a proper circulation of air between the feet and the socks, which helps keep the feet dry.
  1. Moisture-wicking – The quality of the fabric used is not just breathable, but also absorbs moisture. This feature prevents any moisture build-up that can lead to microbial infections. Keeping the feet aired and dried inside the socks are important.
  1. Warm – The socks worn for diabetic neuropathy can help to keep the feet warm as well. The warmth in the feet is necessary to supplement a good blood circulation and keep the movement active. The pain also reduces due to a constant warm pressure on it that provides a feeling of comfort and ease.
  1. Square-toe boxed shape – The compression socks are usually made in a square shape till the toes, whereas regular socks seem to narrow down at the toe portions. A square shape encourages comfort and spacing between the toes, and it also ensures to prevent any factor that can cause moisture building up in the feet.
  1. Comfort – The socks are designed to provide enough comfort and support to one’s feet. It is not prone to cause itchiness and discomfort. A lot of varieties also offer an open-toe compression sock. You can choose one that suits your preferences.
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As you choose a compression sock pair that will help your diabetic neuropathy, make sure to check your symptoms and opt for a fit and design based on that.

Do not forget to consider comfortable shoes that do not hamper with your compression socks, and are safe with reduced risks of injuries.

It is also recommended to ask your doctor to suggest a suitable compression sock type that can prove beneficial for your feet’s condition and diabetes.

Some other foot care options you can practice:

–         Keeping the feet dry and clean can be helpful. You can wash your feet in lukewarm water daily. Massage gently and apply a mild soap. Rinse thoroughly and dry them between the toes carefully.

–         Have a close examination of your feet to check the presence of any wounds, swellings, blisters, cracks, etc. Due to reduced sensations in the feet, these injuries cannot be felt, make sure to spot them and treat them well.

–         Practice moisturizing your feet. Using lotion can prevent the buildup of bacteria or fungi. Prevent applying lotion in between the toes.

–         Maintain cleanly trimmed toenails.

–         Choose properly fitted socks made from good-quality fabric.

–         Consider wearing comfortable footwear that protects against injury and does not cause internal cuts, bites, or sores.

REFERENCES:

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30554612/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25410215/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24373831/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25299279/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29139278/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30980143/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24954624/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20876709/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25410217/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28942323/

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/diabetic-neuropathy/symptoms-causes/syc-20371580

https://www.healthline.com/health/find-right-diabetic-socks#precautions

 

Dr Sharon Baisil MD

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