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Shoes and Diabetes: What's on Your Feet Matters

Tips to Pick the Right Shoe continued...

5. Consider laced shoes instead of slip-ons. They often provide better support and a better fit.

6. Try on shoes at the end of the day. Your feet are more likely to be a little swollen. If shoes are comfortable when your feet are swollen, they should feel fine the rest of the time, too.

7. Don't buy shoes that aren't comfortable, planning to break them in as you wear them. Shoes should feel good when you first try them on. If you take off new shoes after wearing them a couple of hours and find red, tender spots, don't wear them again.

8. Buy at least two pairs with good support. Each pair will likely have different pressure points on your feet, so change your shoes daily. Your shoes will also get to dry and air out when you don't wear them every day.

9. In some cases, Medicare covers the cost of special shoes for people with diabetes. You must meet certain criteria, such as having changes in your foot shape, past foot ulcers, or calluses that can lead to nerve damage. A doctor needs to prescribe them. Talk to your foot doctor or primary care doctor to find out more.

Keep Your Shoes On

Once you find shoes that fit well, wear them all the time. Don't go barefoot, even around the house or pool areas. "Some patients, when they are numb, may walk on a piece of glass and not be aware of it," says podiatric surgeon Robert K. Lee, DPM.

Foot doctors suggest you put on shoes even if you just take a few steps to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. There's always a chance you could step on something, not feel it, and injure yourself.

Enjoy Occasional Fancy Feet

Having diabetes doesn't mean you have to wear sensible shoes every day for the rest of your life.

"The need for being careful depends on how advanced the neuropathy is," Lee says. "The risks vary significantly depending on how advanced the disease is and how numb or how bad circulation is."

If you have normal feeling and blood flow, it might even be OK to wear dressy shoes like high heels or pointy wing-tips for short periods of time, Lee says. Ask your foot doctor what's best for your feet, though.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Michael Dansinger, MD on February 02, 2015
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