When diabetic patients need compression socks
When diagnosed with diabetes, patients work closely with their physician, diabetic educator and pharmacist on how to best take care of their health with an important emphasis on legs and feet.
People with diabetes often have circulation problems that can cause peripheral edema (swelling) in their feet, ankles and legs. There are many causes of peripheral edema, not necessarily related to diabetes, such as standing or sitting for long periods of time, physical inactivity, chronic venous disease, lymphedema, heredity, pregnancy, surgery and trauma and some illnesses. Peripheral edema can also be associated with diabetes complications such as heart disease, venous insufficiency, and kidney disease. Certain diabetes medications can also cause edema.
New research (1) shows that for many diabetic patients who suffer from edema, compression socks can help keeping legs and feet healthy, and allow the patient to have a more active lifestyle.
Graduated compression socks and hosiery have been proven to effectively promote venous blood flow by providing a gentle graduated support to leg veins and valves. A calf-length compression stocking goes over the calf muscle to be most effective. Graduated compression socks and hosiery come in different levels of compression. Features of the SIGVARIS Diabetic compression sock include padding sole, flat seam, non-constricting top band, yarn that breaths and wicks away moisture. Sock and hosiery and should be worn under the direction of a physician.
A mild level (up to 25 mmHg) of graduated compression will help reduce the symptoms of swelling, tired and achy legs, spider and varicose veins and other leg discomforts. Higher levels of compression are a noted caution or contraindication for a diabetic patient (2). Your doctor can help determine the correct amount of compression to help reduce the swelling in your legs.
Contraindications: peripheral artery occlusive disease (PAOD), diabetic foot ulceration.
(1) Wu Stephanie, et al. Control of lower extremity oedema in persons with diabetes with mild compression socks: a pilot study, 2011.
(2) Stemmer Robert. Strategies of treatment by compression and mobilisation. Switzerland: Ganzoni & Cie, 1995.