What kinds of socks should people with diabetes wear? There is lots of bad advice about diabetic socks on the worldwide web. However, you don’t expect that bad advice to come from the United States Center for Disease Control (CDC).
The CDC makes this recommendation to people with diabetes: “When you exercise, wear cotton socks and athletic shoes that fit well and are comfortable. After you exercise, check your feet for sores, blisters, irritation, cuts, or other injuries.” CDC, Exercise and Diabetes.
Is there any evidence to support this recommendation of the CDC?
Most of the research regarding sock materials has been done with socks on healthy feet. The United States military has done extensive research. The U.S. Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine has assimilated that research and recently recommended soldiers use synthetic socks because they manage moisture better. USACHPPM Injury Prevention, Physical Training and Sports Injury Prevention Guidlines 2009.
Douglas H. Richie, Jr., DPM, recently wrote an article “Therapeutic Hosiery: an Essential Component of Footwear for the Pathologic Foot,” in Podiatry Management, Oct. 2008, pp. 125-134. After reviewing the available evidence, Dr. Richie makes this recommendation to podiatrists: “Synthetic fiber socks are preferred to natural cotton fiber socks for use by patients with pathologic feet.”
If you have diabetes, your doctor should be advising you on an exercise routine. Be sure to ask your doctor about the kind of socks you should be wearing. If your doctor is unaware of the research cited in this article, don’t be afraid to discuss it with her or him.