What On Earth Are Hospital Socks and Why Do People Love Them?
Have you ever opened grandma's sock drawer and found a bunch of what looks like mismatched hand mittens with white rubber on the outside? If you didn't already know, they're probably hospital socks. Depending on who you talk to, hospital socks might be considered a prized possession, hospital memorabilia, or something they can't wait to throw in the trash.
My mom was a nurse and I would always go in her closet and steal some of her hospital socks, those things are just so freaking comfortable!
Hospital Sock Benefits
Hospital socks are given to patients in hospitals and clinics to help prevent accidental falls. Preventing falls is the number one reason hospitals give out hospital grip socks. Smooth floors are good for moving beds and running patients around during emergencies, but they are definitely not great for walking patients, especially fall risk ones. However, we’ve seen a lot of different hospital sock benefits beyond this, which include
- Keeping patients’ warm when it’s cold in the hospital. Yes, it’s cold in the hospital! Socks are a great way to keep the feet warm.
- Protecting patients’ feet from dirty bacteria. Hospital floors might look slippery and clean, but you don’t know what was there before. Best to keep the shoes or socks on!
- Giving patients a fun pop of color while waiting. Let’s admit it - the colored socks are fun to look at. If you’re lucky and the hospital has different colors in stock, you can try to request a color. Different hospital socks can also hold different meanings depending on the hospital.
- Providing a sense of personal belonging and comfort to patients. This might be an unintended benefit, but the truth is it’s nice to have something that is yours in the hospital when all you have is an oversized hospital gown. Think of it like a lollipop or balloon that you get after going to the dentist or sticker kids get at the pediatrics’ office. Better quality grip socks are also a great gift for someone in the hospital.
Hospital socks and warmed-up blankets are some of the best things I've been provided in hospitals. I could be in nothing but shorts, a sports bra, and a hospital gown, but hospital socks and a blanket do wonders to keep me warm. It's like a hug.
Hospital socks go by a lot of different terms. We’ve heard people refer to them as non-slip socks, non-skid socks, grip socks, grippy socks, treaded socks, and grippies (if you’re feeling hip). We prefer just calling them hospital socks or hospital grip socks.
The same colorful grip socks are given out to patients in psych wards, but it's taken on a new meaning on social media, connecting those who have been in the psych ward.
Hospital Socks For Fall Risk Prevention
Hospital socks are especially useful for elderly and patients in recovery. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), falls are an area of great concern in the aging population.
- More than a third of adults age 65 years or older fall each year.
- Older adults are hospitalized for fall-related injuries five times more often than they are for injuries from other causes.
- Of those who fall, 20% to 30% suffer moderate to severe injuries that reduce mobility and independence, and increase the risk of premature death
Anytime I have surgery I bring the hospital socks home for my middle son. He used to love when his grandpa would give him the hospital socks before grandpa passed away.
Hospitals and clinics would rather avoid being liable for a broken hip that could have been prevented with hospital socks! Even patients like pregnant moms fine use in grip socks during labor to keep their feet warm and clean. It won't take away the pain, but we have some fun and helpful tips from nurses and moms who have been in the room.
Most people are curious about the meaning behind hospital sock colors. From our experience, a yellow hospital sock is usually the only color with significance in a hospital. It indicates fall risk patients to healthcare staff because it's so bright. On the other hand, colored wristbands given out to patients have more variety in meaning, like having allergies or limb injury.
Hospital socks are meant to be comfortable and easy to put on and off. Unfortunately this also means the socks are loose fitting and don’t always fit correctly. You’ll find that the reasons why patients love and dislike hospital socks are often the same, funnily enough.
Why People Love vs Hate Hospital Socks
I hate hospital socks! They are thin, don't stay on and the grippers aren't good.
One of the funniest things about hospital socks is how people can have polar opposite views on them. For every person who loves them, you'll easily find someone who finds them icky. Below are features of hospital socks and examples why someone might like or dislike it.
Hospital Sock Fit: Hospital socks have sizes, but they are loose fitting for a few reasons. It's to help with geriatric patients who have swollen legs and to help put them on quickly. On the other hand, they tend to fall off the feet easily which can be frustrating.
Hospital Sock Grips: Sometimes you will see the grips are on both the top of the foot and the bottom of the foot. We call it double-sided, but you will also see it called double tread. People enjoy this since it ensures that even if the socks move around, the grip remains on all sides. On the other hand, people complain the grip on top of the socks tend to catch on to blankets and fall off.
Hospital Sock Heel: Hospital socks don't have a heel. They are a flat fabric that looks like a mitten. Similar to the last point, the reasoning for this is to put the socks on easily and to not constrict swollen feet. It also helps the hospital to find the right "fit" easier. Even if they are out of smalls for example, they might give you a medium or a large. There's no heel so there's no way to really say the sock doesn't fit you.
Hospital Sock Fabric: Hospital socks are made from terry cloth fabric, which is similar to the consistency of a towel. Some people like this because it is super breathable, light and moisture wicking. Others think it feels scratchy and rough on the skin.
Hospital socks are not fashionable, but they do the job even if they sometimes fall off.
Hospital socks’ lifespan don’t end when you leave the hospital. Patients tend to request to take them home to help prevent falls on slippery hardwood floors or we’ve also seen it be passed on as a gift to a family member. It’s a small, yet fun item that has the ability to cheer people up, which is definitely needed in the hospital.
About Dr. Socko Hospital Socks
Our mission is to provide laughter and joy to people going through tough times. It's especially needed in a hospital. Often, patients receive hospital gifts like flowers, teddy bears or cards. We have heard several requests for changes in the traditional hospital grip sock, like making it fitted, removing the toe seam, and creating better designs. We've launched our own take on hospital grip socks based on this feedback and hope you love it as much as the traditional ones! Our hospital grip socks are for those who need a smile, in and out of the ER in any slippery situation.
Check out the collection.