Podiatry

Socks

Socks

Socks. They have to be the only piece of clothing given virtually no consideration when being purchased. In fact most of us tend to pick up a bunched lot of three or six from a bargain bin we happen to pass while out looking for something else. We now understand the effect of socks that are not ideally constructed.

What problems can arise from the socks I have?

The material used in many socks holds onto perspiration making the sock damp. By not letting moisture escape, the dampness can lead to bacterial build up, foot odour, which creates an ideal environment for fungal infections to create colonies and flourish. Another little known fact is damp socks are a major cause of blisters; most people tend to blame their shoes. This happens because the moisture in the sock, keeps the skin wet not allowing it dry. If we have an active day which includes exercise or work situations, this wetness penetrates through the top layer of our skin; it then lifts it off the layer below, forming a blister. Seams in the socks are common in the toe enclosure location. These seams are actually ridges which add more pressure and friction stresses to the toes. This added pressure generally shows up on the top part of the toes as a red bump at first, and then this can lead to painful corn formations. One of the main problems with socks is the band at the top of the sock that keeps it up. This band actually restricts blood flow down to the foot, which supplies the foot with oxygen and nutrients. It also restricts the blood from the foot being able to return back up to the heart and lungs to clear it of waste products. Tight bands on socks also restrict the nervous system of the foot. Like the blood circulation previously mentioned, this can affect the signals being sent down to the foot, as well as the signals being sent back up from the foot. If this is happening, you may experience numbness, tingling, a burning sensation or pins and needles. The next time you remove your socks and there is an indentation where the sock band was, just see how long it takes to fill up again. The indentation should disappear fairly quickly, within seconds of removal. Now if it remains indented for a more than say 30 seconds, you should consider changing the type of sock. If you have swollen ankles you really need to change the type of sock you wear and not restrict any fluid being removed from the foot. Remember fluid leaving the foot has to work against gravity every day, so any restriction making this function even harder, will lead to complications. Eventually as the band at the top of the sock loses its holding power, the sock no longer fits correctly and rides down bunching up and creates more ridges applying extra pressure points, that can lead to callus and again corn formations. Two final things you may find interesting. For a sock to offer moisture control, anatomical cushioning and a customised fit, you need to have a sock that is designed specifically for the left foot and the right foot, because they are different. There is range of socks that have a left and right fitting sock, just like gloves, and like gloves they are not interchangeable. The final thing is you can also purchase socks that have all the above features plus a cellulose fibre within the sock composition, which protects the skin with anti-inflammatory properties. This feature is ideal for diabetics, the older adult, or people who may suffer from fungal infections of the foot, on a regular basis.

Do they cost more?

Yes, they range from $14.50 to the top of the range at $43.50 a pair. If you have any questions fell free to either email me or drop into clinic for a chat.