Types of Socks for Foot Pain

Types Socks For Foot Pain - A Detailed Guide

Types Socks For Foot Pain - A Detailed Guide

When you have constant foot pain and swelling, life can be tough. Elderly people with chronic pain in the arch or heel area and people with plantar fasciitis find it difficult to walk, sleep, and perform daily activities due to the intense discomfort.

Apart from taking pain medication, soaking the feet in warm water, keeping the feet elevated at night during sleep, and using topical pain ointments and rubs, you could use compression socks for much needed relief.

Socks for foot pain provide arch support, stabilize the feet, and gently compress the painful area to help reduce the swelling.

In this guide, we will discuss different types of socks for foot pain along with their features, ways to select the right pair for your needs, and also some general FAQs about socks for foot pain.

Types Of Socks For Foot Pain

Types Socks For Foot Pain - A Detailed Guide

Compression Socks

Compression socks are the most popular variety of socks used for treating chronic foot pain. They support the arch and heel area and prevent that awful throbbing which can make life miserable for plantar fasciitis sufferers.

As their name indicates, these socks gently compress the foot to enhance circulation. As circulation improves, your feet get the much-needed anti-inflammatory action.

The compression or pressure provided can vary from pair to pair. In general, socks can provide moderate pressure of 10 mm of Hg to higher pressure up to 40 mm of Hg.

Many compression socks are ankle-heel socks which means they do not cover the toes. They press down on the ankle and heel and especially the plantar fasciitis ligaments. This reduces the pain greatly and also relieves edema or swelling by improving blood circulation.

Copper ion compression socks

Another great modification of compression socks is the addition of copper ion technology.

In this case, the compression socks are made with special fabrics that are infused with copper ions. These have anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties which reduce odor and pain in conditions like diabetes-related foot pain, plantar fasciitis, and also recovery from foot injuries.

Copper ions are known to encourage angiogenesis which enhance blood circulation and also soften the dry and rough skin of the heels and feet.

Combined together, copper ions and compression socks can provide much-needed relief from tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, Achilles heel, etc.

Nano-bamboo charcoal foot sleeves

Nano-bamboo and charcoal foot sleeves are perfect for people with diabetic foot pain, tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, etc. The fabric is lightweight yet it firmly compresses and molds around the foot to provide stability and support.

These socks are divided into zones: the zone around the toes offers light compression, the zone around the meta tarsal area offer moderate compression while protecting from friction and supporting the foot, a third zone offers non-binding compression around the heel and ankle while bamboo charcoal absorbs sweat and odors, and fourth zone extends up the leg to offer graduated non-binding comfort.

Breathable nano-bamboo fiber socks are suggested for use in diabetes, neuropathy, sensitive feet, feet-edema, and for circulation support.

The advantage of nano-bamboo material is that it is renewable and also better for the environment.

Toe-separator socks

People with bunions can benefit from these types of socks. As their name indicates, toe separator socks come with segments that separate the toes.

They are great for preventing spread of infection from toe to toe and also provide relief from bunions, hammer toes, and other toe-related issues.

Toe separator socks are recommended for preventing cramps in the toes. They work by promoting blood circulation and prevent foot pain.

Toe separator socks can be worn during exercise, yoga, pilates, etc. They are beneficial for people that cannot sleep due to foot pain.

Uses Of Socks For Foot Pain

Types Socks For Foot Pain - A Detailed Guide

Socks for foot pain can help with the following conditions:

Heel spurs

In patients with plantar fasciitis, the foot mechanics get altered. This leads to calcium deposits and growths that protrude from the heel area and are extremely painful. Compression socks can help press the heel region to give you much needed relief.


Stressful wear and tear in the joints of the feet can lead to degenerative arthritis. The cartilage disintegrates while bones tend to fuse together. In short: the joint is replaced by bone and calcification.

Some types of compression socks can help with this pain.


Bunions are often seen in women who wear high heels. They can also occur in people who walk with abnormal pressure on their toes and other feet bones. Serious cases need surgical intervention but for milder cases, you can use toe separator socks to prevent the condition from worsening.

Achilles heel

People with plantar fasciitis often do not have the natural shock absorbing ability of their feet. This can cause the Achilles heel to hurt or even rupture or tear. Compression socks can help with this type of pain and also provide cushioning comfort while walking.

Diabetes, neuropathy, poor circulation, sensitive feet

Compression socks and neuropathy socks gently compress the feet, support the arch and heel, and improve blood circulation. As your feet get the necessary nutrients, they benefit from the socks’ anti-inflammatory action in conditions like diabetes, edema, etc. that cause foot pain and swelling.

Varicose veins

Compression socks that extend to the knees can stabilize the entire leg and provide much-needed relief from painful varicose veins.

How To Select The Best Socks For Foot Pain

Types Socks For Foot Pain - A Detailed Guide

The best socks for foot pain have the following features:

Contour and fit

Compression socks or toe separators mold around your feet like a second skin. They gently press the feet, heels, and toes to massage the skin and improve blood circulation. They have seamless construction and a shaped-to-fit design which supports the midfoot and arch to stop pain, throbbing, and discomfort.

Superior materials

High-quality compression socks come in cotton, synthetic, or blended materials that wick moisture, allow your feet to breathe, and yet mold around your feet like second skin. You can also select nano-bamboo charcoal material which is sustainable and ecofriendly. It absorbs odors and sweat and yet compresses in all the right areas for superior pain relief and comfort.

Comfort and protection

Top-quality socks for foot pain protect the feet by cushioning them against impacts. They also prevent hot spots, pinching, and feet blisters. Insulated socks keep your feet warm in cold temperatures. They are especially comfortably while sleeping without causing sweat or discomfort. Good pair of compression socks can also protect the feet from skin problems like ringworm, abscesses, bacterial infections, etc.

Sweat preventive/moisture wicking and breathable

Top-rated compression socks wick sweat and moisture to the surface from where it can easily evaporate. They also prevent the feet from getting wet in cold, rains, humid weather, etc.

Odor control

Good quality socks with copper ions, bamboo fibers, and other materials can impart antibacterial properties to minimize odors and keep the feet safe from fungal infections, bacterial accumulation, toenail ringworm, etc.

Amount of compression you need

You can also base your selection on the degree of compression you need. This can range between low to high or mild to extra firm compression. In millimeters of Hg or mercury, this pressure can range between 8 mmHg to 40 mm of Hg.

Easy care and maintenance

Some types of socks for foot pain only need hand-washing. If you know you won’t have the time for that task, it is best to select socks which can be machine-washed.


How do foot compression socks work?

Feet compression socks gently compress the feet at the heels to provide arch support. They help reduce swelling or edema and foot pain caused by certain medical conditions like diabetes, neuropathy, plantar fasciitis, etc.

Can you wear plantar fasciitis socks at night?

It is best to wear compression socks only during the day. However, you can wear them all night if your doctor has specifically asked you to do so. Some people experience extreme foot pain at night while sleeping. For them, plantar fasciitis socks can give some relief.

How many hours a day can you wear compression socks?

Your doctor will guide you about the correct time to wear compression socks for. Some people get relief from wearing them all day. However, it is advisable to remove the socks at night or at least for a few hours each day. Speak to your doctor about the right way to use compression socks.

Who should not use compression socks?

Doctors advise against the use of compression socks for people with vascular disease or those with circulation issues or conditions affecting the lower extremities. Always check with your physician before self-prescribing compression socks.

Who should wear compression socks?

Athletes and sportspersons, people with diabetic neuropathy, foot pain, plantar fasciitis, swollen feet, Achilles heel, painful bunions, etc. and those recovering from foot injuries can benefit from compression socks. However, you must check with your doctor first before using them.

Can compression socks cause harmful effects?

Compression socks are not for everyone. You must wear them only if your doctor has prescribed them for painful foot-related conditions, or for comfort during sports and running. They can be harmful because the pressure can sometimes be too much. Wearing compression socks over broken skin or open wounds can worsen the infection. You must never wear compression socks at a stretch for prolonged periods of time.


There are many types of socks for foot pain but you must only use them if your doctor has prescribed them. In general, compression socks, toe separator socks, socks with copper ions etc. can be useful in providing much needed relief from various painful conditions of the feet.

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