Skip to content

    Diabetes Health Center

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Find the Right Shoes for Diabetes

    Experts discuss the best shoe options to avoid foot problems linked to diabetes.
    By
    WebMD Feature
    Reviewed by John A. Seibel, MD

    For most people, a bad shoe day means a blistered heel or painful arch that goes away quickly. But for people with diabetes, poor footwear can trigger serious problems, such as foot ulcers, infections, and even amputation.

    Foot problems aren't inevitable, though. Ralph Guanci learned the hard way to pick his shoes with care and to stick with wearing them because they're good medicine for his feet.

    Also See:


    Diabetes is a serious disease that can cause debilitating nerve pain.

    Here's some helpful information:

    Guanci, 57, a businessman in Carlisle, Massachusetts, was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes 25 years ago. For the first two decades, his feet seemed fairly normal, and he gave little thought to footwear. "I wore anything I wanted," he says.

    But a few years ago, he developed foot trouble: a foot bone injury that prompted recurring, infected blisters on his sole. After doctors cured the problem with surgery and antibiotics, Guanci started wearing only one brand of comfort shoes called SAS that his podiatrist had recommended.

    "The only times I've violated that, I usually regret it," he says. During one business trip, he ditched his podiatrist-recommended shoes for a fancier pair. "I wanted to look dressy, so I wore an expensive pair of shoes." He wasn't planning to walk much, but after dinner, his companions sprung a surprise plan: a two-mile stroll back to the hotel.

    "When I got back to my room, my sock was full of blood and there was a huge blister on my foot," Guanci says. He flew home that night and went straight from the airport to his podiatrist's office. The blister, which was on the ball of his foot, forced him onto crutches and took four months to heal, he says.

    Shoes for Diabetes: Double Trouble for the Feet

    Why are diabetic feet so vulnerable?

    Diabetes patients -- who number 17.9 million in the U.S. -- know that good blood sugar control reduces risk of complications. But poorly controlled diabetes delivers a double whammy to the feet.

    Diabetes can cause nerve damage, or neuropathy, that lessens the foot's sensitivity to pain. Guanci's nerve damage is extensive. After years of "funny, tingling feelings in my feet" -- a sign of abnormal nerve function -- he has now lost all sensation in both feet, he says. "I broke a big toe once and the only thing I noticed was that my toe was swollen. I didn't feel a thing."

    1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

    Today on WebMD

    Diabetic tools
    Symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and more.
    woman flexing muscles
    10 strength training exercises.
     
    Blood sugar test
    12 practical tips.
    Tom Hanks
    Stars living with type 1 or type 2.
     
    kenneth fujioka, md
    Video
    Can Vinegar Treat Diabetes
    Article
     
    Middle aged person
    Tool
    jennie brand miller
    Video
     

    Prediabetes How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
    Article
    type 2 diabetes
    Slideshow
     
    food fitness planner
    Tool
    feet
    Slideshow