Diabetic Shoes 101 (Probably)
Temporary shoe picture, maybe diabetic shoes, picture borrowed from here.
The idea of buying specific diabetic shoes is not a silly one. If you have diabetes then everything is a concern and worry. You hear about bad things- toes falling off, falling into comas etc. So you want to protect yourself, and your feet.
The first image of a "diabetic shoe" is the one above. And sometimes, some diabetics will have to have them, but not all diabetics.
So, With diabetic shoes, what are you looking for?
1. If you have no issues.
Now "issues" are just some of the following:
- You have boney lumps on your foot which can rub areas (like big bunions or clawing of your toes)
- There are ulcerations (cut and holes in your feet which dont heal well)
- You had ulceration on your feet
- Your feet swell, a lot
- You have a deformity of your foot which makes you walk differently
Generally, if you dont have those issues then diabetic shoes are really obvious to buy. Generally running shoes are designed for you to walk distance in comfort.
It is hard to pin point specific brands/ types of diabetic shoes because many manufacturers have gone down the style route to offer better commercial success. Some have tight toe boxes, heels, no lace/ Velcro etc.
Good diabetic shoes are your normal shoes which are decent. So they will have some of the following:
- They have soft cushioning inside the shoe- press with your fingers (your feet might not be able to feel the cushioning)
- They are lace/ Velcro- no slip on shoes please
- They have a hard sole so nothing can penetrate easily
- They fit your feet first time- no redness, no rubs. If you do have those, then the shoes dont fit
- Deep enough to not touch the tops of your toes. Most people forget depth and:
- Wide enough not to touch the sides of your feet. Width of a shoe is forgotten a lot
- They are the right size for your feet. You need half sizes as your feet are, naturally and normally different sizes
- They are not second hand and heavily worn
- They have some support (not support built into the sole but you can feel within the shoe itself)
- Dont always have to be expensive
Most people will buy a $20 pair and be done with them, but you have to take time and some money to get a decent pair of shoes that you can protect your feet. That is what they are trying to do- protect your feet whilst you are doing your day to day chores.
Diabetic Socks? Check out here.
If you have issues...diabetic shoes part 2.
Most people will have some sort of foot issue. If you are diabetic then you need to be very vigilant and careful about what goes on your feet.
- Always wear something on your feet. Just socks do not count- they are not hard enough to stop things penetrating the foot, also they only protect against rubbing (so always wear socks with shoes)
- No open toed shoes/ sandals even if you are wearing socks
- No slip on shoes
- Wear indoor running shoes around the home and wear something when you go from bed to the toilet. The amount of people who hit their feet on bed posts and then have a problem from that is too many
Sometimes you might have to go to a specific Podiatry/ Chiropody store which can assess and order in footwear. But, the problem comes is that shoes can be very expensive and out of reach for many people. Insurance might cover some aspect, so that might help, but checking sports shops is also helpful. Some Hospitals provide assistance. Some people have even cut out holes in their home slippers to accommodate bunions or other bone issues.
Another 6 Ways to check diabetic shoes
- If those shoes do not fit, then dont buy. Dont ram your foot into a shoe. they should fit first time.
you have orthotics then you need to figure out if they fit in your
normal shoes. Many orthotics can be adjusted and in some cases shoes can
be altered to fit a wide foot. Walk around for a small amount of time
with your orthotics within your shoes and see if they cause redness or
rubbing. If yes, then they dont fit.
- Slippers usually are very inelastic they can cause pressure on boney areas
- Get your feet measured. Feet change in time so the size you had 20 years ago may not be the size you have now
- Always remember depth and width- they are often forgotten
- Sometimes people are brand loyalists which is cool but remember to try them out and check them against some of the points mentioned here
If you are unsure, get it checked out by a professional. For more diabetic footcare articles, check out here.