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Many Diabetes Patients Wear the Wrong Shoes

Survey Shows Many Diabetes Patients Know Which Shoes Are Best but Don’t Wear Them

Second Opinion

''The study [result] doesn't surprise me," says David G. Armstrong, DPM, MD, PhD, professor of surgery and director of the Southern Arizona Limb Salvage Alliance at the University of Arizona College of Medicine, Tucson.

He reviewed the findings for WebMD but was not involved in the research. He serves on the scientific advisory board for Vasyli, a manufacturer of orthotics.

The study confirms what Armstrong observes with some patients, he tells WebMD. "The doctor and nurse can tell the patient something [about proper footwear]. Just because we tell them doesn’t mean they are going to be motivated to make changes."

What may help, he says, is to let those with diabetes know that the risk of foot ulcers is as high as 25%, according to the American Diabetes Association.

Wearing properly fitted shoes can help reduce that risk, Armstrong says. "The problem here is the neuropathy is silent," he says. With nerve damage in the feet, there is a loss of feeling in the feet.

Get an evaluation by a foot doctor every year, Armstrong says. "Doing that alone, just seeing the podiatrist, reduces your risk of getting a wound and then getting amputation by anywhere from 20% to 70%."

Proper shoes don't have to look like ''Frankenstein shoes," he says. He differs with Ogedengbe in that he does allow women with diabetes to wear heels, within reason.

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