Facts about Diabetic Shoes
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Do all diabetics need to wear diabetic shoes?
No. Diabetics who aren't prone to foot problems and do not suffer from foot neuropathy don't need diabetic shoes, but they should still wear shoes that are comfortable and provide adequate protection for the feet. For diabetics with poor blood circulation to the feet, however, diabetic shoes are highly recommended. With insufficient circulation, the body cannot deliver enough blood supply and certain enzymes to the feet, which accordingly causes slow healing of wounds and nerve malfunction, also known as "foot neuropathy." The symptoms of foot neuropathy vary in different patients. Some may develop sharp pain, tingling or a burning sensation in the feet, whereas some others may experience numbness, stiffness or a loss of sensation progressing from the toes up to the legs. Diabetics with foot neuropathy are more prone to foot injuries, recurring foot ulcers and prolonged infections. They need specialized therapeutic shoes that provide extra support and protection for their sensitive feet. This isn't just a matter of comfort, though. In fact, diabetic shoes have proven to lower the risk of foot ulcers, infections, muscle strain and amputation in many diabetic patients.
What are Diabetic Shoes?
Diabetic shoes are therapeutic footwear, specifically designed to provide comfort and reduce repetitive trauma in the foot. Here are some of their typical features and benefits.
Diminishes excess moisture that can lead to skin infections.
Provides extra room for insoles, which help absorb shock, reduce foot pain and improve balance.
Firm Heel Counter
Reduces forefoot pressure.
Reduces heel and arch pain. Improves blood circulation.
Seamless Interior Liner
Minimizes rubbing and prevents blisters.
Convenient to put on. Easy to adjust when the feet swell.
In addition to off-the-shelf diabetic shoes, there is another type of therapeutic footwear, which are made over a mold of the person's foot. However, these custom-made shoes are usually reserved for only diabetic patients whose feet have lost all sensation or severely deformed.
Where to Buy Diabetic Shoes
- Podiatrist's Office - If you are a diabetic with foot neuropathy, it is wise to find a good podiatrist. While your general physician's main job is to take care of your overall conditions, the podiatrist will pay attention specifically to the health of your feet. A podiatrist's office is probably the best place to buy diabetic shoes, as the foot doctor will be there to advise what type of shoes might be most appropriate for your foot conditions, or what kinds of insoles you may need.
- Orthopedic Shoe Stores - An orthopedic shoe store is another good place to find diabetic shoes. At most of these stores, there are pedorthists to give you advice. Keep in mind, though, that pedorthists are not like podiatrists; they are orthopedic shoe specialists but not real physicians. If you have severe foot problems, you should seek advice from a podiatrist first before choosing diabetic shoes to wear.
- Online Diabetic-Shoe Stores - What's really great about online diabetic shoe stores is that they usually offer a wide selection of shoes and sometimes a considerable discount. Yet, here comes the catch; you won't get to actually try on the shoes and see how well they fit. The primary goal of diabetic shoes is to fit your feet perfectly in order to reduce tissue trauma. Walking in diabetic shoes that are not really fitting isn't that much better than wearing regular shoes with no support. So unless you know exactly what types or models of shoes would nicely fit your feet, maybe it's not a good idea to order them from an online store. Sure, you can return them if they don't fit, but would that really be worth your time?
Is It Possible to Get Free Diabetic Shoes?
Yes, it is possible to receive free diabetic shoes. Medicare and a few other insurers cover one pair of diabetic shoes per year. Although most insurance companies do not pay for the entire cost of the shoes, you may still be able to receive partial coverage if your podiatrist gives you a prescription for therapeutic shoes, or your primary care physician confirms that you have a history of diabetic foot problems. Check with your insurance company and improve your foot health today!
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