How to Help People with Diabetes with Knitting
Why sock knitting is a wonderful way to help people with diabetes
Have you ever seen Steel Magnolias? I saw it when I was in high school, and it nearly wrecked me. (If you haven’t seen it and want to, click here to jump ahead and avoid a spoiler!)
The part that wrecked me came when Shelby (played by Julia Roberts, very early in her career) suffered kidney failure after a high-risk pregnancy. It was high-risk because Shelby had diabetes. Her mother offers to donate a kidney to her daughter to save her, but Shelby dies shortly after having surgery.
I think that before I watched this movie, I had no idea that diabetes could be so dangerous. Both my aunt and my cousin have diabetes (type 2 and type 1, respectively), and I knew a diabetic coma could be fatal.
I didn’t know that diabetes can complicate health in other ways.
Why Do People with Diabetes Need Help?
One possible diabetic health complication: it can destroy the nerves and affect blood circulation in feet.
People with diabetes often have cold feet that don’t sweat, are not as sensitive to touch or pain, infect easily, and heal slowly. Because of this, they need to pay close attention to their feet and give them special care.
Diabetic feet don’t have sebaceous or oil-producing glands. Thus, the skin on their feet becomes prone to cracking, which can lead to infections. Such infections can be serious.
Because people with diabetes have poor circulation in their feet, they don’t have enough white corpuscles to heal injuries.
One way they can avoid these problems is with the right socks. And this is where knitters can help people with diabetes!
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Sock Knitting: How Knitters Can Help People with Diabetes
People with diabetes need the right socks. Of course, socks are a specialty of many knitters!
People with diabetes need socks with the following qualities:
- Fit snugly
- Do not impair circulation
- Stay in place
- Don’t bunch or twist in shoes
- Keep feet warm
- Keep feet dry
- Don’t cause abrasions
- Wick moisture
Yarns and Patterns Perfect for Diabetic Sock Knitting
The best yarns to knit socks with are those that wick moisture away from the feet. Believe it or not — not cotton. Cotton absorbs moisture and keeps it on the feet, which leads to chapping and abrasions.
The best yarn to help people with diabetes is wool; it wicks away moisture and keeps the feet warm. You may want a wool blended with nylon or a similar fiber to help with elasticity.
A few to try:
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South West Trading Company Tofutsies Yarn
Sock designers created the following sock patterns to help people with diabetes:
Diabetic Knee-Hi Sock with No-Turn Heel
Basic Sock Pattern for Diabetic Socks
Simply Stockinette Diabetic-Friendly Sock
Sweet Socks for Sugar-Free Feet
Where can you donate socks?
Unfortunately, to the best of my research, knitting charities for people with diabetes do not exist.
But, you can still knit socks and help people with diabetes. One option: do you know someone with diabetes? As I mentioned earlier, I know two. I’ll bet you know of at least one. If not, ask your friends and family. You might be surprised about who you already know with diabetes!
Knitting socks for a friend, relative, or even an acquaintance with diabetes would be a very loving gesture!
Another option is to contact endocrinologists in your area. Endocrinologists are the primary medical specialists that treat diabetes. See if they might be willing to accept donations of socks knitted especially for diabetic feet for their patients.
If the endocrinologist(s) you contact don’t require such socks, they may well know of someone who does.
The life of a person with diabetes can be filled with medical complications. But if you knit socks to help people with diabetes, you can help ensure that at least one part of their lives is made easier and more comfortable. You could even extend their lives!