Should Diabetics Wear
Compression Socks?

Compression socks for diabetics

Compression socks – also called compression stockings – are socks specially designed to gently squeeze the leg and/or foot in order to promote better blood circulation. When looking for the right diabetic footwear, you’ve probably run into compression socks for diabetes, and you’re wondering if you should get these. Well, you’re right to wonder! 

While compression socks can really help alleviate some foot problems diabetics may have, they can also aggravate others! We’re answering here all the questions you might have about compression socks and diabetes. 

Content

Compression Socks Vs. Diabetic Socks

Diabetic socks and compression socks are two completely different medical socks serving opposite purposes. Let’s say that in 90% of cases, diabetics are recommended to wear loose-fitting diabetic socks and to avoid compression socks. But, in some particular cases, compression socks can be prescribed to diabetics too. 

Diabetic Socks promote blood flow down from heart to limbs

Diabetic socks are typically loose-fitting socks that do not constrict your feet and legs in order not to restrain blood circulation. Diabetics can have circulatory problems such peripheral artery disease – PAD. PAD is a blood circulation condition in which the blood vessels are narrowed, reducing blood flow from the heart to the limbs. In that case, diabetic socks are recommended, as their loose-fit design promotes blood flow down from the heart to the lower limbs. 

You especially need diabetic socks when you have been diagnosed with Peripheral Artery Disease.

Compression Socks promote blood flow back up from limbs to heart

On the contrary, compression socks are snug-fitting and are designed to prevent blood from pooling in the lower legs and feet when you have different circulatory problems. When blood accumulates to the lower limbs, it can cause swelling or blood clots. Compression socks are designed to promote blood flow back up from the lower limbs to the heart.

You especially need compression socks for diabetes when you suffer from veinous insufficiency, excessive feet swelling, or blood clots. You should NOT wear compression socks if you have Peripheral artery disease.

Can wearing compression socks be harmful?

Whether you need diabetic socks or compression socks really depends on what type of circulatory problems you might have. Using one instead of the other can really harm you.

As we’ve said before, in 90% of cases it’s not recommended that diabetics wear compression socks. Most diabetic circulatory conditions come from Peripheral Artery Disease, when blood is not flowing enough from the heart to the legs and foot. Compression socks being designed to help blood flow back from lower limbs to the heart, it’s easy to understand they will aggravate the problem. Wearing compression socks when you have PAD can be dangerous. 

Some diabetics, subject to other blood circulation conditions such as veinous insufficiency, excessive feet swelling or blood clots, but who have NOT been diagnosed with PAD, might be recommended to wear compression socks. 

In any case, always ask for your doctor’s advice before wearing compression socks if you have diabetes. 

How to Choose Compression Socks for Diabetes?

There are compression socks and compression socks. If you have diabetes and your doctor has advised you to wear compression socks, you should get compression socks that are also designed to address most common diabetes-related foot problems. Here are the most important features to look at when buying diabetes-friendly compression socks:

Compression socks' length

There are different length of compression socks: knee-high, thigh-high, and waist-high are the most commonly used. Whether you should wear one or the other depends on where the affected area is on your legs. If you experience ankle and feet swelling, then knee-high compression socks should be sufficient. If you have swelling above the knee, you might need to wear thigh-high or waist-high compression stockings. 

That is something you should ask your doctor’s advice on. 

Compression socks' strength

Again, the compression strength should be chosen according to your doctor’s advice. Compression strength is measured in mmHg, the medical abbreviation standing for “millimetres of Mercury”. It’s a unit of pressure measurement, the same that is used to measure your blood pressure. There are 4 main compression strength available, and you can get the first 3 over the counter. 

Compression socks - Diabetes-friendly features to look at

Once you’ve decided with your doctor what length and what strength you need for your new compression stockings, there are still a few things you should take into account. Remember that diabetes can affect your feet in many ways. Tiny little cuts, mini hidden blisters, skin irritations, and many other apparently insignificant things can turn into real nightmare if not taken care off. Taking extra care of your feet and avoiding these kinds of trouble can save you from  much bigger problems such as foot ulcer and sometimes even lower limb amputations.

In order to protect your feet to the maximum, be cautious to choose compression socks that are diabetes-friendly. We’ve already gone into greater details about what are the diabetes-friendly features you should look at when buying socks. To recap:

Few compression socks will provide these extra-features for diabetic people. But they do exist, and they’re right under here!

2021 Best Compression Socks for Diabetes

For all the reasons explained above, finding compression socks that are suitable for diabetics is no easy task. Very few products provide you with quality medical-grade compression and diabetes-friendly features at the same time. 

Diabetes foot care is such an important habit when living with diabetes, you do not want to ruin your efforts with compression socks that will make your skin blister and crack, constrict your legs, or leave your feet in a moist and unhealthy environment. 

You’re lucky we’ve done the job for you, and found 6 compression socks that are suitable for diabetic people. They (almost) all have a non-binding top and a seamless toe, and are made from good moisture-wicking anti-bacterial fabrics. 

Best Compression socks for Diabetes: Comparison Table

Here’s a quick way to have a look at the best compression socks for diabetes. For each of them, view more details clicking on the product description, or just keep scrolling down the article.

Yomandamor Dr. Motion CharmKing Sockwell Ez Sox Hi Clasmix

Yomandamor men compression light diabetic-min

$4.25 / pair

Product Description 

Dr Motion Women alf cushion compression socks-min

$6.40 / pair

Product Description

$3.24 / pair

Product Description

Sockwell women compression socks for diabetes-min

$21.59 / pair

Product Description 

Ez Sox compression socks men women diabetics-min

$9.99 / pair

Product Description

Graduated medical compression socks firm -min

$4.33 / pair

Product Description

Men/Women

Men

Women

Unisex

Women

Unisex

Unisex

Compression 

Strength

Mild 

8-10 mmHg

Mild 

8-15 mmHg

Moderate 

15-20 mmHg

Moderate 

15-20 mmHg

Firm

20-30 mmHg

Firm 

20-30 mmHg

Non-binding Top

Seamless Toe

Cushioning

Anti-Microbial

Arch Support

BEST LIGHT COMPRESSION FOR MEN - Yomandamor Over-Calf Bamboo Diabetic Compression Socks (8-10 mmHg)

Yomandamor is already one of our favourite brand for diabetic socks. Their special compression socks for diabetes are made with 70% bamboo fibers, an extra soft, good moisture-wicking and anti-bacterial fabric. These associate a light compression on the foot to promote blood flow and a wide stretch top to avoid constricting your leg. A great choice for a fair price!

BEST LIGHT COMPRESSION FOR WOMEN - Dr. Motion Women's Half-cushion seamless Compression Socks (8-15 mmHg)

You might already know Dr. Motion’s compression socks are among the best on the market. If you do, you’d be happy to read that their Women’s Half Cushioned seamless compression socks are just great for diabetics. Their non-binding cuff, seamless toe, and extra-cushioned sole, are exactly what we’re looking. They have a light compression (8-15 mmHg) which makes them ideal for everyday wear. High quality and good durability!

BEST MODERATE COMPRESSION FOR MEN & WOMEN - CharmKing Compression Socks for Men & Women 8 Pairs (15-20 mmHg)

CharmKing’s 8-pairs pack of compression socks for men and women is a great choice if you need moderate knee high compression socks that are suitable for diabetics. Made with a durable moisture-wicking fabric, these socks have special toe reinforcement, cushioned heels, and extra ankle protection. Plus, you get to choose among many different colour packs and sizes. 

BEST MODERATE COMPRESSION FOR WOMEN - Sockwell Women's Circulator Moderate Compression socks (15-20 mmHg)

Sockwell is one of the leading company for compression socks in the USA. It’s officially approved by the American Podiatric Medical Association. We’ve selected these Women Circulator Moderate Compression socks because, besides from being top quality compression socks, they also feature most diabetes-friendly sock features you’ll need. And we also love that they offer a large choice of colors and sizes! They are more expensive than others, but quality and durability are incomparable. Top-quality compression socks do cost around that price.

BEST FIRM COMPRESSION FOR MEN & WOMEN - Ez Sox Seamless Toe Compression Socks (20-30 mmHg)

If you have diabetes and are looking for firm compression socks, these are the (only) ones for you! To be clear: they are the only firm compression socks we’ve found that have a seamless construction, and a non-binding cuff. Add to that their moisture-wicking fabric, extra ankle support, and extra cushioned heel, and you’ve got pretty much all the diabetes-friendly features you want your socks to have! And they’re not even that expensive…!

SECOND-BEST FIRM COMPRESSION FOR MEN & WOMEN - HiClasmix Graduated Medical Compression Socks for Diabetes (20-30 mmHg)

Hi Clasmix’s Firm Compression socks for men & women are the most sold on Amazon, and for a good reason: costumers are simply happy about them and their price is very affordable ($12.99 for 3 pairs!). Their unique copper-infused fabric help rejuvenate blood circulation in the legs while wicking moisture away and providing extreme softness and comfort. Efficiently prevents fatigue, swelling, varicose veins, and blood clots. Perfectly suitable for diabetics whose doctor have advised to wear firm compression socks. Only downside: they do not have a seamless construction (not suitable for people with sensitive and blistering skins).

More about Compression Socks for Diabetes

How to put on compression socks - VIDEO!

Because we’ve all struggled to get these tings, here’s a great video from Alecia, a certified Compression Hosiery Expert from Oswald’s Pharmacy showing you the easiest way to put on compression socks! 

Should diabetics wear compression socks on the plane?

After a long flight, legs and feet can be quite swollen. Spending a few hours in a confined space, unable to move around, can make it harder for your veins to send back your blood back up to the heart. Blood accumulates in the lower limb, which can cause pressure and swelling. That’s why you often see recommendations about wearing compression stockings during long plane trips.

But what about diabetics? If you have diabetes you might be victim of a different blood circulation condition: Peripheral artery disease – which prevents your blood for getting to your lower limbs in sufficient quantity. If that’s the case, it’s probably not recommended you wear compression socks, even on the plane. If you’re planing a long plane trip, ask for your doctor’s advice beforehand. Never wear compression socks unless it’s been medically recommended to you.

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Are Compression Socks for Diabetes covered by Medical Insurances?

Hum… unfortunately, probably not. In the USA, Medicare does not provide coverage for compression socks. You can get your compression socks prescribed by a doctor, but you’ll have to pay out of your pocket. It’s the same for most private medical insurance companies, but check directly with yours beforehand.

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