Importance of footwear in Diabetes

KV Kavitha highlights the importance of wearing the correct footwear to ensure your feet health
Importance of footwear in Diabetes

Tips to keep in mind when buying your footwear

Sandals

• For everyday use, wear sandals with a heel counter (a piece of leather forming the back of the sandal). A good heel counter helps to lock the foot in place by providing adequate support to the ankle.

• Velcro fitting sandals are more apt for people with diabetic peripheral neuropathy.

• Make sure that the outer sole is tough and the inner sole is smooth as this balances the pressure exerted by body weight.

• Sandals should be comfortable and not too tight while trying them on or walking.

• The front part of the sandal should be wide to prevent friction or crowding of the toes. Crowding of toes can also give rise to fungal infection between the

toes.

• It is advised to wear cotton socks to reduce friction between the foot and the footwear. Also, socks help in absorbing sweat, which is particularly important as a moist environment inside the footwear tends to invite an array of infections.

• Use of high heels should be avoided, as your weight tends to shift to the front of the ball of the feet inducing pain. It is preferable to use a heel height of 1 inch or less (but not in people with existing peripheral neuropathy.)

Shoes

• Select shoes with a wider toe box (front part of a shoe), to accommodate all five toes without pressing or compressing

so that they are not restricted to function.

• Opt for shoes with Velcro fitting instead of laces as this aids in improving adjustability especially in people who have neuropathic oedema (swelling).

• Ensure that the back of the shoe, i.e. heel counter, is rigid yet flexible.

• Keep in mind that the overall measurement of the foot length should be from the heel to the longest toe. Therefore, you should allow a 1h inch space between the longest toe and the end of the shoe.

• Check the positioning of the toes and foot. Ensure that they don't rub against the shoe.

• Look for a comfortable fit around the heel.

• Ensure that the tongue of the shoe is foam-padded.

• While buying sports shoes, make sure that they have adequate width so that the entire foot is nestled comfortably and provides a good grip.

• As both the foot may not be identical, it is always better to try each shoe individually and see that you can walk properly without any pain or discomfort.

• Shoes made of leather or materials that mould to the shape of your feet are ideal as they allow the skin to breathe.

• You can also opt for ankle-high leather boots as these stabilise and control rotation at the ankle.

• Avoid shoes with tight fittings, metal eyelets and a pointed or narrow toe box.

• Prefer shoes with low wide heels as they are more comfortable and provide stability while walking thereby preventing falls.

KV Kavitha is a Consulting Podiatrist.

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