Diabetic Socks vs. Compression Socks: What’s the Difference?

Diabetic Socks Vs Compression Socks diagram

Are you looking to buy diabetic or compression socks to help support the health of your lower legs and feet? Then you may be wondering what the difference is between compression socks and diabetic socks and which ones are right for you. 

At first glance, diabetic socks aren’t that much different from traditional compression socks. Often, they incorporate the same mix of features. However, if you are a person living with diabetes, then it’s important to be aware of the differences between diabetic and compression socks to know which one is right for you. In this blog, we explore the uses of diabetic socks and compression socks, and how they differ from one another.

Why diabetes patients need to protect their feet

In the United States, roughly 26 million people have diabetes. Medical professionals speculate that up to 7 million Americans are undiagnosed, and another 80 million people are at risk of developing the condition at one point in their life. 

More than 60% of lower-limb amputations come from people who have increased insulin sensitivity, and people with diabetes suffer more from foot problems than those who don’t live with the condition. This is because diabetes can cause damage to blood vessels in the legs and feet. This in turn affects blood circulation in the feet and legs, which leads to swelling, increased infection risk, and many other complications.

According to the American Diabetes Association, poor blood flow in the feet can cause:

  • NeuropathyDiabetic neuropathy is a type of nerve damage that can cause changes in the shape of feet and toes.

  • Calluses — When not treated, calluses can turn into ulcers.

  • Ulcers — Neglected ulcers can lead to infections and even limb loss.
When dealing with diabetes, it’s important never to underestimate the condition. While diabetes shouldn’t stop you from living a full, happy life, there are certain steps you will need to take throughout your life to manage your condition effectively. If you have diabetes, you need to have your feet examined by your healthcare provider at least once a year. A typical exam includes a visual check of your feet for signs of swelling or small infections, in addition to tests, which measure your sensation levels.

Uses of diabetic socks

Diabetic socks are specifically designed to fit your feet and conform to the shape of your foot. Most types of diabetic socks have very few seams, while others don’t have any seams at all. And unlike traditional socks, diabetic socks don’t have any elastic, so you won’t have to worry about the fabric bunching up under your toes or around the heel area.

The best diabetic socks, like those you’ll find at Viasox, are made from fine-textured fabrics like polyester, bamboo, cotton, and lycra. This, combined with the fact that Viasox socks offer cushioned padding from toe to heel, will help to prevent abrasions against your skin. 

Some of the benefits of diabetic socks include:

  • Proper circulation in the feet
  • The compression of diabetic socks gives you the most robust support at the ankle level. The support gradually decreases towards the top of the sock. A lack of blood circulation to your feet can make injuries worse and slow your healing time. With proper diabetic socks, you’ll be able to maintain adequate blood flow and stop problems such as these from happening in the first place.

  • Prevention of blood clots
  • If you have diabetes, you’re at risk of developing Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT). That’s because high blood sugar levels can dehydrate your body. This makes the blood thicker and leads to the development of blood clots in your veins. A single blood clot can travel to your lungs and cause a heart attack. In extreme cases, DVT can lead to death.

  • Overall foot protection
  • Even though diabetes is a blood sugar-related disease, the nerve damage it causes can be a big problem for your feet. Many diabetes patients lose feeling in their lower legs, feet, and hands. Research shows that about 50% of all people with diabetes have nerve damage to a part of their body. Diabetic socks will help you mitigate the pain and numbness that is commonly linked to nerve damage, and they can also protect your feet from cuts and sores. And, thanks to their extra padding and lack of seams, there is no chance of them rubbing against your skin and causing painful blisters. Similarly, as they are made from moisture-wicking material, your feet will remain dry all day. This reduces the risk of fungal infections and blisters.

    Uses of compression socks

    Compression socks are made to relieve the pain of your extremities using strong elastics. These socks allow blood to flow back to your heart. 

    While some compression socks have similar features as diabetic socks, they often have bands that start at the ankle and go all the way up to the knee. For diabetes patients, this can sometimes provide too much restriction — preventing blood from flowing freely. Plus, some compression socks don’t have additional padding on the bottom, which can cause irritation and sores to develop during long walks and other physical activities.  

    Compression socks are most often used to help people with the following conditions: 

  • Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
    DVT occurs when a blood clot develops in a vein in the leg. These clots can not only be very painful, but they can actually cause serious problems — especially if the clot travels to the lungs. Compression socks can prevent DVT and can also help alleviate pain if you have already had DVT.

  • Varicose veins
    Varicose veins are veins that are enlarged veins that appear to be dark purple or blue. They are caused by valves in the veins that cause blood to flow in the wrong direction or to pool. They can sometimes become painful, and compression socks can help to relieve the pain.

  • Leg swelling
    Swelling in the lower legs or feet can be caused by a number of issues, and some pregnant women will also suffer from swollen legs. Compression socks can help to reduce swelling.
  • Diabetic socks vs. compression socks

    When it comes to diabetic socks vs. compression socks, there are a few things to consider. 
    Compression socks are made to relieve the pain of your extremities using strong elastics and allow blood to flow back to your heart. The main difference between compression socks and diabetic socks is that compression socks usually feature five bands that begin at the ankle and go all the way up to the knee (or higher), which put sufficient pressure on your lower legs to encourage proper blood flow and prevent blood from pooling. 
    On the other hand, diabetic socks usually only have two bands and are much more loose-fitting. For this reason, many diabetes patients find compression socks too tight and restrictive. And if your socks are too tight, you risk cutting off circulation to your lower legs and feet.
    In addition, compression socks don’t commonly offer the same kind of cushioned padding that diabetic socks do. Without this added layer of comfort and protection, you risk injuring your feet which can lead to further complications. 

    Diabetic socks vs. regular socks

    Ordinary socks don’t offer a lot of benefits to people living with diabetes. In fact, there are a lot of cons when it comes to regular socks compared to specialized diabetic socks. 

    For one, regular socks almost always have seams in them. The seam at the toe can irritate a major pressure point in the foot, and other seams can also rub against the skin, causing blisters. Regular socks are usually made from cotton, too, which prevents moisture from escaping the sock. If your skin becomes too moist, it will start to break down quickly. Before you know it, you’ll be dealing with a foot infection. 

    What kind of socks are right for you

    There you have it — a rundown of the differences between diabetic socks and compression socks. If you are someone living with diabetes and looking for a way to help support the overall health of your feet, or to alleviate the symptoms of diabetic neuropathy, then diabetic socks could be the right choice for you. Diabetic socks are designed to provide light compression, which can ease foot swelling without inhibiting blood flow. On the other hand, compression socks are designed to increase constriction so that the blood can return more quickly to the heart. This doesn’t mean that people living with diabetes cannot use compression socks — however, it’s always best to speak to your doctor first to find out if they recommend compression socks or not. 

    If you’re looking to buy diabetic socks online, then Viasox can help. We have a large range of diabetic socks in a variety of fun colors and patterns, as well as everyday black, white, and grey diabetic socks. You can buy diabetic socks individually or buy them in bulk, whatever works best for you. Buy diabetic socks online from Viasox today and feel the difference. 

    If you have any questions about our products or would like more information, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We would love to hear from you to find out how we can help.

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    Viasox are the worlds’ first special diabetic socks designed with two things in mind - fashion and practicality. We aim to provide you with high-quality socks that aren’t dowdy and boring like most diabetic socks currently on the market.

    Our socks come in a great variety of colors and patterns on the calf which really bring out your personality and make it easier to complete your outfit! Show off your fancy socks knowing that they’re made especially for you and say goodbye to the boring old black & white socks!

    Our goal is to give everyone the ability to live comfortably by promoting diabetes care, acceptance, and support.