Podiatrist in San Leandro, CA
Foot Doctor of the East Bay
1300 Bancroft Ave
San Leandro, CA 94577
(510) 483-3390
(510) 394-6402 fax
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Choosing supportive, well-fitting footwear is important for everyone, but especially so if you’re diabetic. If you’re one of the millions of Americans living with this condition, you know that your feet can be prone to swelling. You also know that the combination of reduced sensitivity (due to nerve damage) and reduced circulation (which decreases healing times) can cause relatively minor scrapes—like blisters or cuts—to spiral into ulcers, infection, and ultimately even amputation.

Find out which shoes are better for those with diabetes.It can be tricky to choose the right shoes for those with diabetes, but it’s also crucial. You don’t want to take off your shoes after a walk only to find blisters, cuts, or wounds that just won’t heal. You don’t want to stuff swelling feet into a shoe that doesn’t have the space or cushioning to accommodate them. A three-mile walk in bad shoes can lead to weeks or even months of difficult recovery.

So if you have diabetes and are in need of a good, reliable pair of footwear, read on.

What to Look For in a Good Shoe

First of all, your shoe should fit correctly. That means it’s not too tight, not too loose, and comfortable from the moment you put it on—you should never have to break in a shoe.

On the outside, a hard and firm rubber sole protects the bottom of your feet from damage due to stepping on sharp objects. Uppers made out of a breathable fabric such as canvas, leather, or a synthetic mesh, help to keep your feet cool. They also resist moisture and dry out faster—essentially, keeping your shoes from becoming a hot, sticky nesting ground for fungus and bacteria. In addition, a fully closed design with an adjustable closure both protects your feet from debris and allows you to adjust the fit if you’re experiencing swelling.

On the inside, the toe box should offer plenty of room so that toes don’t become constricted. You also need good cushioning (or enough space to slide in your own inserts or orthotics) to minimize pressure on sensitive areas. Seamless interiors are preferred; seams can rub against the skin and cause discomfort, redness, and irritation.

If you have any foot deformities—bunions, corns, hammertoes, etc.—your footwear needs to be able to accommodate them without placing extra pressure or friction on the sensitive areas. Orthotics or extra padding may be required.

Do I Need Special Diabetic Shoes?

If you’re having trouble finding a pair of shoes off the shelf that fit correctly and offer the right amount of support and protection, or if you have a history of foot problems and complications from your condition, you might consider specifically-made shoes for those with diabetes.

The FDA sets and maintains a set of standard requirements for these specialized pieces of footwear. They typically have extra-protective toes and heels to prevent delicate feet from hard impacts, and are extra-deep to accommodate inserts, orthotics, and other cushioning.

A Few More Quick Tips

Feet swell throughout the day and are generally largest in the late afternoon and evening, so measure and fit during these times to make sure you give yourself enough space. Also, re-size yourself every time you get new shoes as feet can change over time.

Make wise choices based on the amount of sensitivity you have in your lower limbs. If you still have a lot of feeling, you might be able to wear more “fashionable” off-the-rack footwear, provided you’re checking your feet regularly. But if you have more significant numbness, don’t risk it.

If you want to learn more about shoes for those with diabetes, remember—Foot Doctor of the East Bay is your one-stop location for diabetic foot care. Dr. Michael Stein and Zeindelin Ahmad, DPM, provide regular foot care checks, as well as diagnose and treat associated conditions and complications from diabetes. We can also set you up with custom orthotics or a pair of diabetic shoes should they be required. Call us at (510) 483-3390 or stop on by—we have three convenient Bay Area locations. 

Photo Credit: Natara

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