For the average person, a bad shoe day is getting a blister, or perhaps arch pain that will go away fairly quickly. For individuals who live with diabetes, though, a bad shoe day can be the start of serious medical complications. Knowing that potential problems can include foot ulcers, infections, and even amputation will hopefully highlight the need for quality diabetic footwear!
Essentially, any kind of damage or injury to a foot can become a major concern when diabetes is in the picture. Foot problems aren’t inevitable, though! Actually, a key component of diabetic foot care is taking appropriate prevention measures to protect the feet. Naturally, shoes play a big role in this.
When it comes to footwear choices, numerous factors crop up – Is there impaired sensation in the feet? Are there any deformities or abnormalities of the feet? Does the gait pattern place excessive pressure in specific areas?
Diabetic patients who manage their blood sugar levels properly and have healthy feet with no deformity might be able to wear conventional shoes (but always check with us first!). Even if that’s the case, it’s absolutely essential that you inspect your feet on a regular basis. A daily foot check is needed to catch any issues like blisters, sores, cuts, and ingrown toenails that can potentially become a major complication. Perhaps even more importantly, this is necessary to monitor for signs of infection, which includes redness, swelling, warmth, and drainage (particularly from an existing wound).
If diabetic patients do develop minor foot deformities or impaired sensation and circulation, it's smart to move from conventional footwear to buying comfort shoes or diabetic shoes.
What we consider to be diabetic shoes are generally characterized by being made of soft leather, offering increased depth for inserts, and featuring rounder, wider toe boxes that can accommodate things like bunions and hammertoes.
Some benefits and tips for diabetic shoes include:
- Diabetic shoes are fitted in the office and the size is checked when they are dispensed
- Diabetic shoes have an incredible cushioned sole instead of a thin, leather one. Better cushioning means better shock absorption, which means lower risk of problems.
- Ease into them. Wear new shoes for about an hour or two the first time, and then check your feet for any blisters or cuts. If you don’t find any problems wear them for 3-4 hours the next day. Gradually build up your time in the new shoes from there and keep checking to make sure there aren’t any problems.
Some people may think of older shoes as being more comfortable, but make sure you replace old footwear when the heel begins to collapse to one side, the inner lining is torn, and the bottom of the heel is worn down. Signs like these indicate that the shoe’s structure is compromised and it isn’t providing the support and protection you need.
For more information about diabetic shoes or to request an appointment to come see us, simply give our office a call at (317) 545-0505 and we will be glad to help!