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Footwear Guidelines for Diabetics

Choosing footwear is never easy, but is even harder for diabetics. People afflicted with diabetes are at much higher risk of developing foot problems, such as impaired circulation and nerve damage.


Some diabetics with previous or ongoing foot issues (like bunion or Charcot joint) may require prescribed orthotics or even specially-made shoes. However, many diabetics can wear regular shoes without needing such customization, although they should avoid high-heels, open-toed shoes, and any styles that tend to rub toes and feet.

Regular shoes for diabetics should be purchased with care to ensure that they do not lead to any foot issues.

Here are some shoe-related characteristics to keep in mind

Shoe Throat: Where the foot enters the shoe, its rim should be padded and low enough to prevent any rubbing at the ankles.

Shoe Tongue: It is where the shoe provides padding against laces running across the top of the foot. In addition to making sure there is sufficient padding, you might also look for slits for laces in the tongue, which helps hold it in place.

Heel Counter: Where the shoe cups the heel, and where shoes often include rigid material to cut down on movement at the back of the foot. Higher heel counters tend to provide more control. Limiting such movement at the back of the foot is generally a good thing, as long as it does not cause any digging or rubbing against the back of the foot, ankle, or Achilles tendon.

Sock Liner: This soft padding between foot and shoe can be embedded or removable. Removable padding offers significant advantages because the manufacturer’s liner can be replaced with more customized products, including custom-made liner to the wearer.

Midsole: At the middle of the shoe, this piece is a cushion for the foot, especially its arch. It is important that shoes have sufficient support in this area, so that they avoid any bending in this place where the foot does not usually bend. A recent shoe manufacturing trend was to remove foam from this arch area, reducing both production costs and shoe weight. But make sure to avoid any shoes that demonstrate an excess of flexibility in the midsole.

Toe Box: As you might expect, where the shoe covers the toes and ball of the foot. Be sure that this area provides enough space for toes to wiggle, and is wide enough not to pinch on the bottom. However, you also want to avoid a shoe that allows too much movement from the foot. In addition, make sure that there is no rubbing against the toes from any shoe seams or other material. Ideally, shoes should allow feet to breathe and sweat to evaporate, which leather and cloth shoes offer.

If you have any questions about proper diabetic foot care, including the best shoes for your feet, please make an appointment with your Lansdale foot pain and care expert, so you can be assured of the best care and comfort for your feet.

Diabetes Self Management

About Jeffrey Wachtel

Jeffrey Wachtel has written 577 post in this blog.