Many doctors recommend patients purchase shoes specifically designed for diabetics. When looking for a pair of shoes, you want to make sure it has proper ventilation, which allows the feet to reduce dampness and heat. Sweat often is an ideal environment for bacteria and infection to grow. You want to make sure the toe and heal curve slightly, forcing your feet to be in balance when you walk. To prevent injury to susceptible and sensitive toes, the shoe’s toe box should be high and durable. The shoe should also be lightweight and seamless to prevent any irritation like calluses, infection or blisters.

With constant care and maintenance, the feet’s pain and infection can be minimized. Here are some tips that may help relive discomfort:

  • Wash your feet everyday with mild soap and tepid water.
  • Carefully trim your toenails.
  • Rub and moisturize your feet.
  • Wear diabetic socks.
  • Wear diabetic shoes.
  • Be conscious about your feet and report any sores or infections to your doctor.
  • At least four times a year, see your doctor for a regular foot checkup.

Here are several reasons why foot problems may occur in people with diabetes.

  • Nerve Damage – Neuropathy, can cause a loss of feeling in your feet. When this occurs, you lose the ability to feel when your feet have been injured. You can easily step onto a sharp object, and not know it until you spot blood on your sock. If you don’t see any blood, you can worsen the injury by leaving it unattended. Soon an infected foot ulcer may develop.
  • Poor Circulation – With diabetes arteries can become rigid and blocked, and fail to bring adequate blood, oxygen, nutrients and medications to injured areas of the body. This can significantly delay healing.
  • Higher risk of infections – When blood sugar frequently goes above 250 mg/dL, your white blood cells, which fight infections, become sluggish. Infections become more difficult to control.
  • Vision Problems – Cuts and other foot injuries can initially be quite small. It is important that careful checking be done daily. If one’s vision is impaired, it is possible to miss potential problems that can become very serious.
  • Excess Weight – If you have difficulty bending and reaching your feet, checking them carefully can be a problem. It is important to check them diligently so small injuries do not become major ones.

Choosing your Footwear

  • Choosing improperly fitting shoes and socks can cause foot trauma. Remember to:
  • Wear shoes and socks that fit well.
  • Wear shoes and socks made from natural materials –they allow for healthy air circulation.
  • Change your shoes at least once each day.
  • Purchase your shoes in the afternoon, when your feet are at their largest size.
  • Look for shoes that have a lot of “wiggle room” for your toes. Do not choose shoes that feel tight.
  • Take time to break in your new shoes. Wear them for 1-2 hours each day to begin with.

Medicare Therapeutic Shoe Program

In an effort to prevent foot ulcers in people with diabetes who are at risk, Medicare will help pay for therapeutic shoes. For those who qualify, Medicare will pay 80 percent of the allowed amount for one pair of shoes and up to three pairs of molded innersoles per year. (The allowed amount varies depending on the kind of footwear you need.) Most secondary insurers will help pay the other 20 percent.

Who Qualifies?

To qualify, you must be under a comprehensive diabetes treatment plan and have one or more of the following:

  • history of partial or complete amputation of the foot
  • history of previous foot ulceration
  • history of pre-ulcerative callus
  • peripheral neuropathy with evidence of callus formation
  • foot deformity
  • poor circulation

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