Diabetes can often affect your feet, so there are special shoes and socks made for people dealing with the disease. You have probably seen them advertised, but do you know if you should be wearing them? Check out this information on special diabetic footwear:

How does diabetes affect my feet?

According to the American Diabetes Association, people with the illness often experience neuropathy, or nerve damage, in their feet. Neuropathy can cause a variety of problems, from tingling and pain to complete numbness that makes it difficult to know if you have sustained an injury. Your feet and toes can also change shape as a result of poor circulation.

The skin on your feet may also be affected, the American Diabetes Association notes. Since nerves control natural oils, you may experience very dry or cracked skin, in addition to calluses. Foot ulcers are also common issues for diabetics, and they may lead to amputation in some cases. All of these problems are more severe in people who smoke in addition to having diabetes.

What are diabetic socks?

Healthline notes that there are a variety of special socks to help with diabetes symptoms. One goal of these special clothing items is to keep feet dry, so they do not develop a fungal infection. They are also designed to be warm, since there is often limited blood flow and feet can get cold easily. Additionally, they are crafted to help reduce foot injuries, since diabetics with neuropathy often cannot feel them.

Most of these socks are padded to add some extra cushion for the foot - this element is important for comfort, support and injury protection. They are usually shaped like squares around the toes, since typical socks tend to be too narrow, causing toes to be restricted and develop infections. Usually the socks are tightly fitted up through the leg. Slight compression can help to reduce swelling in the lower legs and feet. Diabetic socks are made of breathable fabrics to keep the foot dry, while still being warm. Healthline notes that they are traditionally seamless, since rough stitching can rub against sensitive skin and result in ulcers.

What are diabetic shoes?

Like diabetic socks, shoes made for people dealing with the disease offer support, comfort and protection. According to Joslin Diabetes Center, these shoes should be made from soft leather, due to its ability to stretch. It is better for the footwear to have laces than slip on, because laces offer room for adjustment and help provide a more supportive fit. It is also important that the sole of the shoe be cushioned to prevent injuries and increase comfort. If you have special needs because diabetes has caused foot deformities, ask your doctor where you can purchase custom-made diabetic footwear.

When do I need them?

If you do not have signs of neuropathy you can wear whatever footwear is comfortable for you, but you should always pay attention to your diabetes symptoms and make adjustments when necessary. if you are unsure about whether or not you should get special shoes and socks, it is a good idea to ask your doctor.

For more on diabetic foot care:

How to Prevent Diabetes Foot Damage
Diabetic Foot Infections: Antibiotics or Surgery?
How Are Diabetes And Foot Ulcers Linked?