Diabetes is a disease that affects millions of individuals worldwide. Diabetic patients have to adopt certain lifestyle changes to manage their condition effectively. One such essential lifestyle change for diabetic patients is careful shoe selection.
Most people with diabetes are unaware of the potential harm that incorrect shoe selection can cause. Let’s explore how diabetes affects feet and discuss the importance of proper shoe selection for diabetics.
How Diabetes Affects Your Feet
Before delving into the importance of proper footwear, it’s important to understand how diabetes affects your feet. High blood glucose levels, characteristic of diabetes, can cause two main problems that directly impact your feet – neuropathy and poor circulation.
Over time, high glucose levels can damage the nerves throughout the body. When the nerves in the legs and feet are affected, it’s known as peripheral neuropathy.
This condition can lead to a loss of feeling in your feet, making it difficult to feel pain, heat, or cold. As a result, you may not notice a foot injury until it becomes infected, leading to serious complications.
Diabetes also affects the blood vessels, making them hard and narrow. This reduces blood flow to your feet, slows the healing process of wounds or cuts, and increases the risk of infection and ulcers.
Given these potential issues, it’s clear why proper diabetic foot care, including the right footwear, is crucial for those with diabetes.
The Role of Proper Footwear in Diabetic Care
Here are some ways proper footwear plays a significant role in preventing diabetic foot complications.
When it comes to footwear, comfort is not a luxury but a necessity, especially for those with diabetes. Too tight, loose, or ill-fitting shoes can cause blisters, sores, and other injuries.
Due to the reduced sensitivity in your feet caused by peripheral neuropathy, you might not notice these injuries until they have escalated into severe infections or ulcers. Therefore, finding shoes that fit well and feel comfortable is essential.
Diabetic shoes are specifically designed to offer extra protection to your feet. They often come equipped with a wider toe box to prevent injuries to the toes by providing them enough space to move freely without rubbing against the shoe.
A hard sole is another feature of diabetic shoes that shields the foot from sharp objects you might step on unknowingly, preventing cuts or punctures.
Diabetes can cause changes in the shape of your feet, leading to pressure points that might develop into sores or ulcers over time. Diabetic footwear is designed to distribute pressure evenly across the foot, reducing the risk of such problems.
They usually have thicker soles and extra depth to achieve this. Wearing shoes with good pressure distribution can help prevent pressure spots and relieve pain in sensitive areas, contributing significantly to your overall foot health.
Poor circulation is a common issue in people with diabetes, slowing down the healing process for any wounds or cuts. Some diabetic shoes are designed to combat this problem. They may have a wider design or special fabrics that promote better blood flow to your feet, helping to speed up wound healing and reducing the risk of infection.
They may also feature seamless interiors to prevent friction and irritation, further promoting healthy circulation.
Some Tips for Choosing the Right Footwear
Choosing the right footwear is crucial for maintaining good foot health, especially if you have specific needs like those with diabetes. Here are some tips to help you make the right choice:
Know Your Size
Our foot size can change over time due to factors like age, weight changes, or pregnancy. Therefore, it’s essential to measure your foot size every time you buy new shoes. The best time to measure your foot size is at the end of the day when your feet are at their largest.
Try Before You Buy
Always try on shoes before purchasing. Walk around in them to ensure they are comfortable and fit well. Remember that the shoe should conform to the shape of your foot; your foot should not be forced to conform to the shape of the shoe.
Check for Comfort
Your new shoes should feel comfortable right away. If they need a “break-in” period, they’re probably not the right fit for you.
Consider the Material
Choose shoes made from natural, breathable materials like leather or canvas. These materials allow better air circulation, keeping your feet dry and reducing the risk of fungal infections.
Look for Good Arch Support
Good arch support is essential to distribute pressure evenly across your foot and prevent foot pain and other conditions.
Ensure Adequate Depth
If you use custom orthotics, ensure the shoes are deep enough to accommodate them without making the shoe too tight.
Choose shoes with adjustable closures like laces or Velcro. These allow you to customize the shoe’s fit according to your comfort and ensure that your shoes stay securely on your feet.
Room for Toes
Ensure there’s enough room for your toes to wiggle freely. Cramped toes can lead to problems like blisters, calluses, and hammertoes.
Avoid High Heels or Pointed Shoes
These can put unnecessary strain on certain parts of your foot and cause a range of problems, from bunions to plantar fasciitis.
Consult a Podiatrist
If you have specific foot issues or health conditions like diabetes, it’s advisable to consult a podiatrist before purchasing new shoes. They can provide personalized advice based on your unique foot needs.
Diabetic Foot Care in North Dakota
If you are suffering from diabetes and looking for the right shoes for you, visit us here atThe Bone & Joint Center. We have a team of highly trained and compassionate orthopedic surgeons specializing in foot and ankle and offering a wide range of treatments for foot and ankle issues. Our foot and ankle surgeons can address your unique foot and ankle problem and help you select the right type of shoes for you.