Diabetes and compressions stockings go together with annual foot exams

Why You Need Compression Stockings For Diabetes

Diabetes and compression stockings may seem like an unlikely duo but in reality, a major part of diabetes treatment involves taking proper care of your legs and feet. Plus, compression stockings may alleviate pain and discomfort. See if you should consider using compression socks to relieve swelling for better diabetic foot care.

Compression Stockings For Diabetes

Why Foot Care Is Important For Diabetics

Even though diabetes mellitus is a blood sugar problem involving how your body uses glucose, leading to too much sugar in the blood, it can also affect your feet in the following ways:

  • Compression stockings for diabetes prevent edema In some cases, diabetes causes venous insufficiency, when the vein valves in your legs improperly function, leading to swelling and skin changes. 
  • Diabetes symptoms also include poor circulation, as a result, you may experience peripheral edema, which is swelling in your legs, ankles, and feet as blood pulls and collects. This can cause wounds or sores (venous or arterial ulcerations) to have a slower healing process, increasing the chance of infection.
  • Nerve damage can occur in your feet, leading to the loss of feeling. Due to this, you may not feel or notice wounds and sores on your feet until they become infected, leading to the need for amputation.

How Do Compression Stockings Help?

  • Compression stockings work by applying pressure to your lower legs in order to help them maintain proper blood flow and reduce pain and swelling (edema). By squeezing your calf and lower leg muscles blood is able to flow upwards towards your hearts and lungs and help your vein valves properly function again.
  • Pressure socks with moisture wicking and antibacterial properties help prevent wounds, sores, and infections.
  • By improving your circulation, compression stockings reduce the risk of developing blood clots or Deep Vien Thrombosis (DVT). Blood clots can travel to your lungs to cause a Pulmonary Embolism (PE), which can cause heart attacks.

I Need Compression Stockings, What Do I Do?

If you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes and think you may need to use compression hosiery, speak with your doctor. Compression stockings may help if you have experienced:

  • Being advised to start a diabetes diet and exercise more diabetes and compression stockings to prevent swelling
  • Swelling in your legs, ankles, or feet
  • If you’re pregnant with gestational diabetes.

You should have an annual foot examination to identify high-risk conditions. Generally, diabetic foot exams will include an assessment of protective sensation, vascular status, skin integrity, and foot structure and biomechanics.

If you have neuropathy then you should have your feet examined during every visit.

Be sure to assess your own feet on a regular basis. Look for skin discoloration, temperature changes, swelling, cuts, and ulcers. Contact your doctor immediately if you spot any irregularities.

Diabetic Socks Vs Compression Stockings

There are various types of support socks, including diabetic socks and compressions stockings. Both are similar, however diabetic socks are nonbinding, which is important because diabetics can’t have too much restriction. Blood needs to flow freely. Diabetic socks may also have padding on the bottom and seamless features to prevent scratches and sores.

Some compression stockings aren’t too different from diabetic socks, they often incorporate a mix of the same features. However, compression socks have bands that begin at the ankle and go all the way up to the knee or higher, and diabetic socks tend to only have two bands.

Your doctor will recommend the best type of pressure sock for your individual needs.

Measuring for compression socks
Read more:
How Do Compression Stockings Help Circulation?

How Do I Get Compression Socks?

Well, first contact your doctor to determine which type you need. Medical compression stockings come in a variety of sizes. Some go up to the knee, the thigh, and stomach. They also have varying levels of pressure.

  • 8 – 15 mmHg – Mild Compression
  • 15-20 mmHg – Moderate Compression
  • 20 – 30 mmHg – Firm Compression

Your doctor will measure your legs to determine what size you need and the amount of compression you’ll need. You may receive a prescription for compression stockings and could qualify to have them covered by insurance. Compression stockings are also available over the counter.

How To Put On Compression Socks  

Compression stockings for diabetes go on first thing in the morning

  1. You should put on your compression socks every morning once you wake up. If you shower or get up first, sit down and elevate your legs before putting them on.
  2. Start at the ankle and work your way up. Using a stock aid or rubber kitchen gloves to grip the socks can help you pull them all the way up.
  3. Wear the socks all day, until you’re ready to go to bed.
  4. It’s best to have two or more pairs to always have a clean set available for daily use.

If you think you may need compression stockings, don’t hesitate to contact your doctor to discover the best type to suit your individual needs today.

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