As podiatrists we see a large number of patients with diabetes. Diabetes affects the circulatory system causing damage to blood vessels and restricting blood flow. This reduction in blood flow leads to slower healing in wounds, especially those on the feet. Diabetic neuropathy causes a loss of sensation in the feet. This means that when a diabetic develops a blister or ulcer on their feet they may not feel it. This can lead to these open wounds becoming easily infected. These infection are slow to heal and if they go untreated can lead to possible amputations.
In order to prevent these infections and amputations podiatrists recommend that diabetics at risk wear special shoes designed specifically with their feet in mind. But what sets them apart from other shoes? Firstly, diabetic shoes have extra depth and room in the toe box, the area of the shoe where your toes go. This is to help prevent the toes from rubbing on each other and causing hot spots and ulcers. They also have no stitching on the interior of the shoe, as stitching in this area can cause excessive rubbing and again lead to ulcers. Finally, diabetic shoes come with replaceable inserts, to extend the life of the shoe and provide more cushioning for feet. These inserts can even be specially modified my a podiatrist to take pressure off of areas of the foot that have been shown to be prone to ulcers.
Most health insurances cover the cost of one pair of diabetic shoes and inserts for diabetics with symptoms that make them more likely to develop dangerous ulcers. If you or a loved one is a diabetic make an appointment with your local podiatrist and get examined to find out if you qualify for these important protective shoes.