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Why do Diabetics Need Special Shoes?

There’s a question that we get in our Blacksburg and Roanoke offices quite frequently – and that is, “Why is it that your diabetic patients require special shoes?”

To understand the answer to this question, one must first understand the diabetic foot. One big reason why it is important for any diabetic person to carefully monitor and control blood glucose levels is that when uncontrolled, many complications can arise. Some complications that are frequently seen in our office are nerve damage, decreased blood flow, and foot and joint problems. All of these problems can and do affect the feet.

Besides the bladder, bowel and stomach issues that can arise from diabetic neuropathy, poor sensation can have devastating effects on a patient’s feet without proper care and attention. Inability to feel pain, pressure or temperature can easily allow for rubs, blisters, burns and other injuries to go unnoticed.

Feet are sensitive and the blood supplying oxygen to the lower extremities may be reduced without you even being aware of it. The decreased oxygen delivery to the feet from poor circulation results in slower healing and nail growth.

Uncontrolled blood glucose levels can be inherently dangerous. “Rollercoaster” blood sugar levels can damage tissues and cells. An elevated blood glucose level can cause dehydration and dryness of the skin as well as promote the growth of bacteria and fungi (since sugars are a good food source for these organisms). Because of this, bladder, gum, and skin infections are common in our diabetic patients with high sugar levels.

So, Why Special Shoes?

  • Proper shoes are the first line of defense against injury and infection.

  • Well fitting shoes are comfortable and allow proper circulation in the feet.

  • Proper shoes will allow your feet to breathe while still protecting them.

  • Proper shoes can prevent the development of ulcers, blisters and fungus.

How are these shoes different?

  • Deeper and wider to accommodate diabetic inserts, allow more room for feet, and reduce possible pressure points.

  • These shoes provide excellent support which is recommended for anyone buying shoes.

  • Most have a breathable fabric upper to promote good air circulation within the shoe.

  • Most are custom ordered for size or even custom molded to a patient’s foot.

  • The toe boxes are roomier to prevent pinching or squeezing the toes as well as to allow for more room for foot deformities.

  • Many are easily adjustable or have elastic which makes it easier to put on without making the shoe too tight or too loose.

  • Available with Velcro to make putting on shoes easier for patients with peripheral neuropathy who can not feel their fingers well enough to lace shoes.

If you are interested in a pair of these shoes for a loved one or yourself, please give our office a call at (540) 808-4343!