For most people, wearing uncomfortable shoes means an annoying blister or corn after a day of walking. Diabetics, however, could develop much more severe conditions.
What are diabetic shoes?
Diabetic shoes are specially designed to decrease the chance of skin irritation in those with diabetes. These shoes usually have a deeper, wider and rounder toe-box, allowing room for hammertoes and bunions without rubbing and causing irritation. Most are made out of soft, supportive leather. Sometimes, podiatrists will also prescribe a custom-made shoe insert that is molded to the patients’ foot, evening out the pressure put on the foot by standing or walking, further reducing risk of irritation. In the most severe cases of foot deformity, custom-molded shoes may be prescribed. When these shoes are prescribed, it is absolutely imperative that the patient wear them at all times, as they run a very high risk of injury and infection by wearing other, “normal” shoes.
Why are diabetic shoes important?
Diabetes can cause nerve damage that makes it hard or impossible to feel pain in the feet. This means that conditions that would be very painful to someone without diabetes could go completely unnoticed and develop infections. Things like stepping on a sharp object, ulcers, blisters or even a rock in the shoe could lead to severe infections, which, if caught too late, could lead to serious complications or even amputation.
All diabetes patients should check their feet regularly for scratches, cuts, red or warm areas, swollen areas, ingrown toenails and any other irregularities. When shopping for shoes, they should shop later in the day, since feet tend to swell throughout the day. After buying the new shoes, they should wear them for 1-2 hours the first time, checking for any abnormalities like cuts or blisters, gradually building up over several days to wearing the shoes all day.