Diabetic Foot Care And The Fashionable Shoe Challenge

Patient Expert

Most of us know that foot health is very important in diabetes care David Mendosa has written about the seriousness of foot ulcers and Joan has written about caring for your tender tootsies. Last week, Diabetesmine addressed the issue of myth vs reality.

I spent some time talking with a friend, who is also a podiatrist; about what she thought was the right answer for caring for diabetic feet. According to APMA, American Podiatric Medical Association, diabetes and proper foot care amount to huge pay off:

  • More than 65,000 lower limbs are amputated annually due to complications due to diabetes.

  • After an amputation, the chance for another amputation within three to five years is as high as 50 percent.

  • Including a podiatrist in your diabetes care can reduce the risk of lower limb amputation up to 85 percent.

  • Care by today's podiatrist can lower the risk of hospitalization by 24 percent for those with diabetes.

Good care consists of:

  • Inspect feet daily. Check your feet and toes every day for cuts, bruises, sores, or changes to the toenails, such as thickening or discoloration.

  • Wear thick, soft socks. Avoid socks with seams, which could rub and cause blisters or other skin injuries.

  • Don't go barefoot. Don't go without shoes, even in your own home. The risk of cuts and infection is too great for those with diabetes.

  • Never try to remove calluses, corns, or warts by yourself. Over-the-counter products can burn the skin and cause irreparable damage to the foot for people with diabetes.

  • Wear Water Shoes when going in ocean or lake.

  • Exercise. Walking can keep weight down and improve circulation. Be sure to wear appropriate athletic shoes when exercising.

  • Have new shoes properly measured and fitted. Foot size and shape may change over time. Shoes that fit properly are important to those with diabetes.

For me, diabetes aside, footwear is the basis of caring for my feet.

I'm a total wimp when it comes to my feet! Blisters and cuts in the skin, just make for misery.

Not only do my feet hurt, but the rest of my body compensates for my stride adjustment and then a whole lot more hurts as well.

Recently, I was in NYC and my husband and I went to see Wicked.

We picked a little place to eat not far from the theater.

I had a new pair of shoes, which fit so comfortably on top, but the soles of shoes proved to be a different story.

We walked 7 blocks to the show and by the time I arrived, the soles of my feet were blistered and not just a little! It was crippling pain when we left at the end of the show.

It's not the heels that created the issue; it was the materials used to construct the shoe. The upper was soft and flexible, but the sole of the shoe has a rough surface and when my feet moved in the shoe it was like pressing down on sand paper. Shoes vary for all kinds of reasons.

I have a pair of Stuart Weitzman's that I can stand in all day and my feet feel great! I have a fabulous pair of DocMartens boots that are

that are too wide, no matter what width! I have a pair of boots from Banana Republic, which I paid about half as much as the doc martens and they are far more comfortable, but my Banana Republic loafers are not as great, there is a design flaw in the lip of the quarter (shoe anatomy!) it rubs if I wear them without socks, or bare feet.

My workhorse is the Merrell Breeze, which is a clog.

For years, I wore Birkenstocks, but standing all day for as much as 12 hours doing massage and talking to clients, I started to notice tired feet.

My feet were never blistered or bruised, just tired like I had pounded out a marathon on them.

I found the Murrells had better energy return.

I found that price and brand plays little into what will be best for me. Fit is the first priority.

Even in some serious heels, I can find a pair that do not blister, rub and often give energy return.

Recently, I saw a relatively new company that is making more fashion forward shoes for people with "delicate" feet! J

Ever heard of Dr. Comfort shoes? Dr. Comfort shoes are specifically designed for people with diabetes, but with more fashionable notes.

I love the look of the men's boot and think they should consider making a similar boot for women. I just bought a pair of their cozy slippers to try for myself.

They make a lightweight-hiking boot that might be my next purchase since I do a lot of day hiking.

The key to the success of this company is their custom inserts that are made in Mequon, WI. Three inserts lasts a year with a cost of $160- $240. While pricey, insurance and, in particular, Medicare (part B) will cover part of the cost of shoes and inserts, if you meet the requirements.

Their website is easy to navigate and very cute, with a podiatrist caricature who walks you thru learning about foot care.

For PWD (people with diabetes), Dr. Comfort is a positive step in the right direction!