August 2011

Mild compression socks reduce edema, maintain flow in patients with diabetes

In the moment: Footcare

Mild compression socks can reduce lower extremity edema in patients with diabetes without compromising vascularity, according to research presented in July at the annual APMA meeting in Boston.

Compression sock therapy is the standard of care for treatment of edema of the leg, ankle, and foot, reducing swelling by enhancing fibrinolysis and venous outflow, but is often contraindicated in individuals with diabetes because of their high risk of peripheral arterial disease.

Investigators from the Center for Lower Extremity Ambulatory Research at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science in Chicago studied 14 individuals with diabetes and lower extremity edema who wore recently developed socks that produce mild compression (18-25 mm Hg of graded compression compared with the
34-45 mm Hg of standard compression socks).

Over four weeks the participants demonstrated statistically significant decreases in calf and foot circumferences and similar consistent trends in mean ankle circumference and interstitial fluid measurements. Ankle brachial indices differed from baseline during week three only, and were elevated during this period, indicating increased blood flow.

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