Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Sock It to Me!

Dr. Bridget Brondon

Socks are helpful clothing items that provide extra cushion to the feet when walking and standing.  They also help absorb moisture from the feet and prevent friction when the feet are in shoes.  In today’s world, socks have become quite a fashion statement as well.  Dress socks, sports socks, tube socks, more socks (that was my best Dr. Seuss impression!), between the bright colors, crazy patterns, and fancy fabrics, the number of sock choices can be overwhelming!  So how do you go about choosing the type of sock that is right for you?

The good news is that for most people, the type of sock that you wear does not have as much effect on the feet as do the type of shoe.   Of course, wearing any socks at all is better than none.  It is also important to change your socks every day to help prevent infection and odor.  However, there are a few medical conditions that may require a sock of a certain type:

  • Diabetics with neuropathy or circulation problems: 
    It is important for this group to find a sock that will not be too constricting and are made out of a soft material.  Another thing that can be helpful is a seamless sock as seams within the fabric can cause irritation to the skin.  Many stores sell “diabetic socks” which can give you a head start on knowing what fabrics to look for, but unlike diabetic shoes, these are not as well-regulated and so you may not get any more for your money that just a regular sock.

  • Sweaty feet:
    As the weather grows warmer, it is often inevitable that our bodies will try to cool us off more by producing more sweat.  Because our feet are “trapped” in shoes, this is often an area of high sweat production.  The answer is NOT to stop wearing socks.  That can actually create more problems.  If you have sweaty feet, a moisture-wicking sock is important to help draw the moisture away from the skin and prevent irritation, infection, etc.

  • Swollen and/or achy feet:
    Socks with compression can help to reduce the amount of swelling within the legs, ankles, and feet.  Gravity tends to pull fluid down throughout the day while we are standing and sitting with our feet down, causing a heavy or aching feeling.  Compression socks or stockings do not allow extra fluid to remain in the lower parts of the legs and help push the fluid back up towards the heart to re-circulate through your body.  The amount of compression within the socks can vary depending on how much fluid is in the legs.  Even using light compression can help to prevent fluid from collecting in the legs and feet.  Though they may not complete resolve the swelling that tighter compression would, every little bit can help!

  • Highly active people or people who stand a lot:
    The more time you spend on your feet, the more pressure you put on the joints, muscles, tendons, and ligaments.  Socks with good cushion are the best choice for these individuals.  There are also socks that have some mild compression within the arch area that can help support your feet.  While the fabric isn’t strong enough to take the place of support you get from a well-made shoe or a shoe insert/ orthotic, once again, every little bit can help!

Community Foot Specialists - Podiatrists/Foot & Ankle Surgeons Serving Dayton and Springfield, Ohio Call today to schedule your appointment! (937) 426-9500

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