People with diabetes often experience edema, or swelling. When swelling interferes with blood flow in the lower body, it puts diabetes patients at risk for foot ulcers and other vein diseases. But there’s good news, according to researchers from Chicago – using mild compression stockings therapy can reduce swelling in the lower legs without adversely affecting circulation in the veins.
Researchers from the Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine at Rosalind Franklin University in Chicago and Madigan Army Medical Center in Tacoma, Washington took 80 patients with type 1 or type 2 diabetes and mild to moderate lower limb edema and assigned them to wear either diabetic socks with no compression or mild compression socks (in the study they used Sigvaris 18 to 25 mmHg socks). The patients recruited for the study received four pairs of socks and were told to wear them for all of the hours they were awake.
At the beginning of the study and every week for 4 weeks, researchers measured the circumference of each patient’s foot, ankle and calf to asses lower-extremity edema. They also tested each patient’s circulation throughout the study.
After a month, patients who wore the compression stockings had significant reductions in swelling in the calf and ankles, compared to patients who only wore the diabetic socks. In addition, patients wearing the Sigvaris stockings had signs of increased improvement in lower body circulation.
Previously, doctors often did not recommend compression socks to their diabetic patients, because of concerns that it would interfere with vascular disease. The findings from this study, presented at the 2015 American Diabetes Association 2015 Scientific Sessions in June 2015, seem to indicate otherwise, and the researchers associated with the study state: “Using compression stockings can help with fatigue and cramping associated with edema in the lower extremities and may also help with long-term venous health.”
Source: American Diabetes Association 2015 Scientific Sessions; June 6, 2015: Boston, Massachusetts. Abstract 142-OR