Diabetes can take a significant toll on the feet. Since many people with diabetes experience insufficient circulation, sores and ulcers that are difficult to treat and overall changes in size and appearance of the feet, a good pair of athletic sneakers simply won’t be enough to address and prevent ongoing complications.
For those with diabetes, proper footwear is a matter of continued health. If you are experiencing pain or changes with your feet, it may be time to consult with your doctor about proper diabetic footwear. It’s best not to wait until the issue gets out of control before you take action.
What Do Diabetic Shoes Do?
Diabetic shoes do a lot of things that regular shoes cannot. People with diabetic foot complications find that traditional shoes make their feet feel worse. Diabetic footwear is often designed to look exactly like traditional footwear. The untrained eye would not be able to spot the difference. Everything on the inside of the shoe is what truly makes a difference.
Preventing Skin Irritation
Most traditional shoes have stitching or even rough textured material on the inside. These features don’t make a difference to people who don’t have the same kind of sensitive skin that a diabetic might have. By keeping the inside of the shoe smooth, friction is reduced. Nothing will rub against the skin, which is particularly vital if a diabetic patient is dealing with open sores on the feet.
Providing Additional Depth
Many people with diabetes utilize special inserts in their shoes to make walking comfortable. Where regular shoes do not provide the depth necessary to accommodate these inserts without pushing the top of the foot against the top of the shoe, diabetic footwear does.
Extra Toe Protection
Shoes that are narrow at the toe often cause toes to rub together or brush against the front of the shoe. The toe box on a diabetic shoe is designed to be deeper and wider. This protects the sensitive area between the toes from irritation, as well as the tops and fronts of the toes from feeling jammed into the shoe.
The heel of a diabetic shoe is reinforced to provide additional stability to the wearer and the soles are non-skid. Some people with diabetic foot complications experience difficulty remaining stable on their feet and diabetic footwear is designed to counteract some of those difficulties.
Selecting The Right Diabetic Footwear
Diabetic footwear requires specific measurements in order to be properly fitted. Just as there is a wide range of traditional footwear for different occasions (such a dress shoes, running shoes, and work shoes), there are diabetic variants of all of these occasions. Some people with severe diabetic foot complications may require a specialized pair of shoes that is designed to be worn at all times. Your doctor will be able to advise you as to what you need.
Vital Foot Health For Living With Diabetes
Though complications from diabetes cannot always be entirely prevented, there are plenty of ways that diabetic patients can minimize their risk levels and take control of their health.
Follow Your Doctor’s Advice
Always take your medications and keep a close watch on your blood glucose levels. Mismanagement of your diabetes will nearly always lead to complications. Be proactive about your treatment and talk to your doctor if you are experiencing symptoms that would suggest your plan is not working properly.
Practice Proper Foot Care
Some individuals with diabetes experience neuropathy or a numbness of the feet. Some injuries may go unnoticed, as the feeling in the area has significantly dulled. During your daily hygiene routine, check your feet for any injuries you may not have noticed.
Wash your feet with water that is slightly warm. Cold water cannot help with sanitation and hot water can be damaging to sensitive skin. Some people with diabetes apply talcum powder between the toes to keep the area dry. Apply lotion or a medicated ointment to the tops and bottoms of your feet, avoiding the creases between the toes.
Keep Your Feet Protected
Though it may feel comfortable to walk barefoot, doing so may put you at risk. Stubbing your toes, scraping your feet or stepping on an object could result in a serious injury. Always wear socks and properly fitted diabetic shoes when you’re standing up.
Avoid Extreme Temperatures
Be sure to wear thick socks and boots in the winter time, particularly if you may come into contact with snow. When it’s hot outside, take care not to walk barefoot on hot concrete. Always avoid direct sun exposure to the feet and apply sunscreen to any areas of your feet that may be affected by sunlight.
Be sure to move around. Moving your feet regularly will promote better blood flow and gentle forms of exercise will improve the overall health of your body.