Ask 10 people what they look for in a pair of shoes, and you may well get 10 different answers. But ask 10 podiatrists what they recommend in shoes for people with diabetes, and you’ll probably get about the same answer 10 times, with “good fit” near the top of most lists.
People with diabetes are at high risk of developing both impaired circulation to the feet and nerve damage in the feet. Impaired circulation causes wounds on the feet to heal more slowly, raising their risk of becoming infected. Nerve damage can cause loss of sensation in the feet, which means a person may not feel heat, cold, or pain in his feet. He may not notice that his shoes are rubbing or pinching or even that he is walking on small objects such as paperclips that have fallen into his shoes.
The combination of impaired circulation and nerve damage sets the stage for foot ulcers. When you add ill-fitting shoes to the mix, the risk of developing an ulcer goes even higher. But finding shoes that fit well is not impossible, and they don’t have to be ugly, either.
Know About Diabetic Shoes.
Many people with diabetes benefit by using specially-crafted diabetes shoes, especially if they suffer from a loss of sensation in their feet. Diabetes shoes are designed to be soft, comfortable, and custom fitted to the feet, which many diabetics may not feel after they lose foot sensation.
Why Use a Diabetes Shoe?
Many diabetics develop a condition called peripheral neuropathy. When someone has peripheral neuropathy, they lose feeling in their extremities, including their feet, legs, and even hands. Because they suffer from a loss of feeling in these extremities, they can be unaware when their shoes rub, cut, or squeeze their feet. In such a situation, the diabetic person may unknowingly be injured by ill-fitting shoes.
What Makes a Diabetes Shoe Different?
A diabetes shoe tends to provide more room for the foot and for orthotic inserts than a normal shoe. Diabetes shoes tend to be wider and deeper than most other shoes and can be fitted with comfortable insoles.
In most cases, diabetics will have shoes custom made in order to ensure that the shoe distributes weight properly and fits the foot perfectly. Having a custom-made shoe can prevent rubbing, chafing, and loss of circulation to the foot that a person with diabetes may not notice because of the loss of sensation in the foot.
In addition to being specialty-crafted for the diabetic individual, diabetes shoes also tend to be manufactured with breathable fibers, such as fabric or netting, so that the foot has healthy air circulation. Good air circulation allows the skin to breathe, which helps to prevent pressure ulcers and increases blood circulation.
How to Find a Good Pair of Diabetes Shoes
1. Look for fabrics that "breathe," such as canvas or even sandals. Breathable fibers will prevent your foot from sweating, swelling, and chafing.
2. The shoes should be deep enough to accommodate an orthotic insert and wide enough to prevent pinching.
3. Avoid shoes that have interior seams, which may rub against the skin and cause chafing.
4. The toe box in the front of the shoe needs to be roomy enough so that you can wiggle your toes.
5. Elastic in the shoes may also help to prevent the shoe from sliding around on the foot
while holding it comfortably in place.
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