Diabetic neuropathy can lead to a number of problems with your feet. So the best thing for you to do is follow a few rules for foot care post-diagnosis: perform daily self-checks, visit your podiatrist at least once a year, and wear the right shoes.
At Southwest Foot & Ankle in Scottsdale, Arizona, we know many people in our area love physical activity, and even with a condition like diabetic neuropathy, it’s still important to stay active. For this reason, Petrina C. Lewis, DPM, FACFAS, and Mark T. Lewis, DPM, FACFAS, offer a list of the best types of shoes for your condition.
Studies show 30-50% of people with diabetes will develop diabetic neuropathy, a condition that causes nerve damage, most often in your feet. This condition makes it hard to notice if you’ve hurt your feet and can make it more difficult to heal after an injury.
For this reason, it’s commonly suggested that those with diabetic neuropathy avoid repetitive exercises where your feet bear the brunt of your weight, such as running. Instead, swimming, riding a bike, and other similar activities are preferred. But you still need to be able to walk and stand comfortably, right? Then you’re going to need the right shoes.
Wearing the right type of shoes is essential to your overall health and safety. If you’re taking care of your feet, you’ll be able to do what you like much easier, and you won’t have to worry about the possibility of harming them.
We can’t stress this enough. Wearing open-toed shoes or walking around barefoot is dangerous with diabetic neuropathy. It gives you more chances to cut yourself or stub your toe. And because the nerve damage often numbs your feet, you might not notice until the problem becomes significantly worse.
The next thing you should look for in a shoe is ample arch support. You need to make sure your weight is distributed evenly and that your arches aren’t caving in. Shoes that place too much pressure on certain areas of your feet include flip-flops and high heels.
Wearing shoes that have hard material on the inside can create friction, causing your skin to rub against your shoe and sock. This can cause a blister to form, and again, if you don’t notice it because you’re not able to feel it, the blister will only worsen with time.
Carrying a lot of extra weight on your feet isn’t good for them, especially if you have nerve damage. Wearing shoes that are designed to be lightweight will make it easier for you to move around and prevent injury.
Larger toe boxes will keep your toes from crowding together, which can create friction, pinching, and even a condition called hammertoe. All of these problems could go unnoticed if you aren’t checking your feet daily.
Custom orthotics are a fantastic option for those with diabetes. These are inserts created with a 3D printer. You can wear them inside your regular shoes, and some people find they help with comfort and safety after a diabetic neuropathy diagnosis.
In addition, there are also shoes specifically designed for people with diabetes, and depending on your insurance plan, they may or may not be covered. Your need for these custom products will usually depend on the severity of your condition, among other factors.
Diabetic neuropathy can be hard to live with, but it gets much easier when you know how to properly care for your feet. And this starts with wearing the right shoes!
To learn more about how you can protect your feet, call Southwest Foot & Ankle today at 480-900-7399 or make an appointment online at your convenience.