People with diabetes may have poor circulation and reduced sensation in their feet. They may not be able to feel if their shoes fit properly. It is important to have your feet measured and fitted as well as choose the right footwear to avoid injuries.
- Before you select a pair of shoes, have your feet measured. The size of your feet can change over time. Shop for shoes late in the day as your feet can swell especially if you have kidney or heart problems. Get fitted with the socks you will wear with the shoes. There should be ½ of the width of your thumb between your big toe and the tip of the shoe.
- When you buy new shoes, take time to break them in. Wear them for one – two hours the first day then check your feet for blisters, hot spots or cuts. Wear them a little longer each day until they are more comfortable. The key is to avoid getting blisters or any open areas which can lead to other foot problems including ulcers and infections.
- Choose soft leather shoes that can stretch if your feet swell. Select a cushioned insole over a thin leather sole for optimum shock absorption. The backs of your shoes should be sturdy and never collapse in any direction. Invest in laced or Velcro strap shoes to get the best support and avoid wearing hard loafers. The shoe should conform to the width of your foot and be deep rather than shallow to provide support. Shoes should be breathable with no interior seams or covered seams that could cause injuries. Avoid shoes made of plastic but look like leather.
- Alternate your shoes daily to avoid wearing out a certain pair. Look for signs of wear and tear to determine if it is time to get new shoes. If the inner lining is ripped then consider getting a new pair of shoes. It is also time to replace your shoes if the mid-section is worn out or the back of the heel has collapsed. Fix heels regularly to help your gait. Let them dry out since perspiration can carry germs and cause athlete’s foot.
- Before putting on your shoes, look for foreign objects inside such as stones, twigs or house hold objects. If you have limited sensation in your feet, you might not feel them. Your feet could wind up getting injured and infected. Always open your shoelaces to put shoes on and take them off. Use a shoe horn instead of squeezing into a shoe.
- Flat shoes may be more comfortable and cause less problems. Women with no major foot deformities can wear a low heel for a special occasion or office meeting. It is best to keep a pair of flats or sneakers handy to slip into before and after the event. You may not feel the pain high heels or narrow shoes can cause and could develop blisters. Avoid wearing these types of shoes as much as possible. Also avoid flip-flops that expose your toes to injury and provide little or no support.
- Always wear shoes on your feet to avoid injuries. Put on slippers with a sturdy sole when you are lounging around at home. Wearing socks alone may cause you to slip unless they have grips. Get protective water shoes to wear at the beach or pool. Going barefoot exposes your feet to injuries.
- Keep your feet clean, dry and moisturized. Avoid using lotion between your toes. Wear soft, dry socks that fit properly. Check your feet each day for sores, cuts and blisters. Visit a podiatrist at least once a year. Use a podiatrist to cut your nails if they are thick with fungus and difficult to trim. Take off your shoes and socks during routine medical exams to get your feet checked.
- If you have circulation problems or impaired sensation, diabetic shoes are the best choice. These shoes are constructed of soft leather and have a deeper toe box that is wide and round. Even if you have bunions or hammertoes, these shoes are comfortable on your feet. Walking and running shoes are better choices.
- Patients with serious deformities or ulcerations should consult with a podiatrist about protective footwear, therapeutic shoes and inserts. These customized shoes can also improve the distribution of weight if the wearer is heavy.
The right shoes are crucial for people with diabetes. Have your feet measured and select practical shoes that won’t hurt your feet. There are many attractive styles that won’t compromise your well-being.