When you have diabetes, you need to take extra special care of your feet. People with metabolic disease are at increased risk of suffering from impaired circulation and nerve damage in their feet. Wearing uncomfortable and ill-fitting shoes can make you more susceptible to developing a harmful condition. That's why it's important to check your feet daily and choose your footwear wisely.
Good shoes can ensure your feet stay healthy and injury-free, so here are a few tips to help you find the right footwear.
It is essential to wear shoes that fit well. According to a study by the University of Dundee, around three-quarters of people with diabetes wear ill-fitting shoes. Wearing shoes that are too small or not wide enough can cause blisters which could turn into ulcers that become infected.
If you haven't had your feet measured for some time, visit a shoe store to get an accurate measurement. Some people have one foot bigger than the other so ask for both feet to be measured. To ensure a comfortable fit, try on shoes while wearing socks you usually wear as well as any orthotics or inserts. If you have bone spurs, bunions or other protrusions on your feet, look for shoes that don´t put pressure on those areas.
It's a good idea to try shoes on toward the end of the day when your feet are more likely to be a little swollen. If the shoes fit while your feet are in this state, they are likely to feel comfortable the rest of the time.
Your toes need room to flex as you move and shouldn´t scrape the top of the shoe. Ideally, there should be at least the width of half a thumb between the end of your longest toe and the inside tip of the shoe.
People with diabetes need to wear shoes that provide a lot of cushioning and comfort to help prevent diabetic foot complications. Select footwear that offers plenty of heel and arch support and cushions the ball of the foot, the padded part of the sole between the toes and the arch. Look for cushioned soles instead of thin leather soles, as these will provide better shock absorption.
Natural fabrics such as leather, suede, and canvas are an excellent choice because they prevent excess moisture build-up that can lead to fungal infections and blisters.
While there are plenty of diabetic-friendly sandals out there, many experts advise wearing shoes that cover the whole foot to prevent injuries. Open-toe shoes can make you prone to injuries and let gravel and stones inside that can rub against your feet. Even minor cuts can be problematic if they get infected.
Be sure to check inside the shoes for stiff seams or rigid structures that could irritate your feet.
Choose shoes with laces rather than slip-ons because they tend to fit better and can be easily loosened when needed. Shoes with Velcro are a good idea because they allow you to control the tightness and are easier to handle for people with dexterity problems.
When shopping for shoes, it's best to avoid:
Wearing comfortable and well-fitting shoes is only one part of ensuring you have happy, healthy feet. Remember to check your feet daily for signs of rubbing caused by shoes and other injuries. Start at your toes and work your way back to your ankle, checking every part of your feet, top and bottom. If you are unable to reach your feet, ask a family member to help you.
If you notice any sores or blisters, contact your doctor immediately. Prompt treatment is essential to prevent minor issues from developing into significant problems such as infections that won't heal or amputations.
At the Midwest Institute for Non-Surgical Therapy (MINT), we provide comprehensive diabetic wound care treatments. To schedule a free consultation at one of our four convenient locations throughout the St Louis area, call MINT today on 314 255 2204.