One of the common side effects experienced by people dealing with diabetes revolves around neuropathy – diabetic nerve damage in your feet – which can decrease your ability to sense pain. Another symptom pertaining to diabetic's feet is peripheral vascular disease, which results in poor blood circulation to your feet that can make it difficult for infections or wounds to heal properly.
Foot complications from diabetes include:
- Increase in calluses
- Foot ulcers
- Blisters, warts and ingrown toenails
- Frequent temperature change
The most prominent way to help protect your feet from these problems are finding the right therapeutic shoes for your specific needs. Here's some tips to keep an eye on when shopping for new curative footwear.
Tips for buying shoes suited for a diabetic
Substituting style for comfort is an important choice to keep in mind when shoe searching. Make sure you have your feet fitted properly prior to making any purchases, and if you're wearing specifically designed socks for diabetics, have those shoes fitted with your socks on. Cramming your feet into your shoes is a good way to develop poor blood flow, so make sure you give yourself an extra half inch of room between your toes and your shoe. Also, don't be afraid to return your shoe purchase a few days after feeling them out. Providing yourself a few hours or days of walking around in them can help you see if any blisters or cuts develop as a result of improper fit.
Essential shoe features for diabetics
The ideal material for comfortable therapeutic shoes is leather, which is soft and can stretch accordingly to accommodate your feet. Thick cushioned soles are needed for better shock absorption, and also make sure to find a shoe with a sturdy back frame for improved support. It's wise to choose shoes with laces over slip-ons and loafers, because it allows you to decide how tight you want your shoes to fit your feet. Custom molded shoes are also available for those with severe complications.
Replacing your old shoes
You don't want to squeeze every penny's worth of your new shoes by wearing them through thick and thin. It's important to own multiple shoes so you can alternate them every day while limiting overall wear and tear. If your heel is showing signs of damage and slumping over on either side, it's time for an upgrade. Always check your inner linings and sole bottoms for any indications of depletion or dilapidation.
While finding the perfect therapeutic shoe is crucial for avoiding foot concerns, there are plenty of other ways to help prevent diabetic side effects in your extremities. Try to stay off your feet as often as possible. Cutting ulcers or calluses on your own can lead to further infections, so use specific healing lotions and ointments to combat pain. Simple exercise such as walking can help improve blood flow into your legs and feet, and if you ever feel sensations of temperature change, it's important not to dump your feet in hot or cold water because you might not be able to feel numbness or burning. Instead, stick to wearing thick wool socks for added comfort and warmth.
Medicare Part B will cover one pair of therapeutic shoes necessary for diabetic treatment. To qualify for coverage, you must meet the following conditions.
- You are covered under Medicare Part B
- You have diabetes
- You experience frequent foot complications
- Your doctor has certified your need in writing
Discuss with your doctor before planning on obtaining corrective footwear, and remember, the first step to a healthy foot is a healthy shoe.