6 Foot Wear, Socks and Orthotics

Module Introduction

Determine appropriate foot wear for various foot problems.

Module Topics

This module will cover the following topics / concepts:

  1.   Discuss the role of the pedorthist in foot care.
  2.   Identify the parts of a shoe and the function of each part identified.
  3.   Describe appropriate types of shoes for different activities
  4. What are diabetic socks?
  5. What are orthotics?

Shoe Anatomy 


Shoe Fitting Tips


Diabetic Foot Wear Link 




Diabetic socks are specially designed to decrease the risk of foot injury, to offer maximum blood flow, and keep the feet dry. The best diabetic socks should have the following features:

  1. Seamless: Even the tiniest protrusion can have a severe impact on the diabetic foot. Socks with seams can rub against the skin and can cause blisters or ulcers, which may be harmful for diabetic feet.
    The best diabetic socks are seamless and knitted with inverse linking, which keeps the ends of the toe-linking thread outside rather than inside the sock.
  2. Non-constricting: The fit of diabetic socks should be loose, non-constricting and have a super stretch design. In fact, they should be loose to the point where you barely feel them!.
    Tight socks can inhibit circulation, which might be challenging for those who suffer from circulatory issues.
  3. Padding: Extra padding and cushioning for sensitive areas help prevent injury and enhances comfort.
    Normally the extra padding runs along the bottom of the sock, around the toes, and at the heel of the foot. These areas of the foot are usually susceptible to the most shock forces during activities and therefore need to be protected even more.
  4. Warmth: Diabetes can cause blood vessels to restrict, decreasing circulation to the feet.
    Diabetic socks should be made from fabrics that keep feet warm and help improve blood circulation.
  5. White Sole: A white sole is important for people with compromised sensation, as it helps alert wearers to a draining wound. Stains from infections, open cuts and sores that require immediate attention will be very visible on a white sole.
  6. Moisture-wicking: Many socks today are knitted with special yarns that are infused with advanced technology to help maintain a healthy foot. Synthetic yarns such as polyester and nylon are able to move moisture out of the sock and quickly dry up. A dry foot environment helps prevent skin infections and keeps feet comfortable for long periods.
  7. Anti-microbial: Good diabetic socks are treated with anti-microbial technology to prevent the growth of bacteria and fungi in the moisture prone regions of the foot, keeping it healthy. Eliminating bacteria and fungi also eliminates the bad odors in your feet!
  8. Soft yarns: Diabetic socks are often made from finer texture fabrics that feel super soft against the skin. Bamboo fibers are an excellent option that reduce rough abrasion and shear forces on the skin.


It is highly recommended you wear a fresh clean pair of diabetic socks every day. This will ensure your feet remain clean and dry and allow you to see whether you have any new draining wounds that need attention.

The best diabetic socks can be washed with your regular load of laundry, preferably on a warm cycle. It is recommended not to use chlorine bleach and fabric softeners as these chemicals are harsh and will shorten the life of the socks. They can be dried in the dryer on a low heat setting.

Check your socks regularly for any holes, rips or loose threads as any protrusion can cause harm to the diabetic foot.

What are Diabetic Socks Link 


What are Orthotics?



Who can Dispense Orthotics?



Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

Basic Foot Care for RNs and RPNs Copyright © by Sarah Lockbaum is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

Share This Book