Footwear plays an essential role in treating diabetes, especially for those with neuropathy. Proper footwear accommodates, stabilizes and supports deformities, limits joint motions, reduces shocks and shears, and relieves areas of excessive pressure. People living with diabetes should take extra caution in choosing the right shoes, even at the earliest stages of the disease.
Charcot Foot, loss of fatty tissues, hammertoes, and amputations are just a few of the possible foot deformities associated with diabetes. These conditions require stabilization to relieve pain and prevent further damages. Proper footwear can control or support the affected areas to decrease progression.
Reducing motion in certain joints can decrease inflammation, relieve pain, and stabilize the foot. Moreover, managing vertical and horizontal pressure on the sole is critical in reducing the risk of skin breakdown or ulcers.
For people with severe foot deformities, prescription footwear may be necessary. Custom-made shoes can be constructed from a cast or model of the patient’s foot. It can accommodate even the most severe deformities. Outside shoe modifications, such as adjusting the shape of the outer sole, can also help.
Healing shoes may also be necessary for short-term use, immediately following surgery or ulcer treatment. These include custom sandals, heat-moldable healing shoes, and post-operative shoes.
In-depth shoes are the basis for most footwear prescriptions. This type of shoe has an additional ¼ to ½-inch depth throughout, allowing it to accommodate inserts or orthotics. In-depth shoes are designed to be light, with shock-absorbing soles that come in various shapes and sizes, making them suitable for any foot.
Orthoses or shoe inserts provide pressure relief and shock absorption. These insoles can be custom-made or pre-made, depending on the patient’s needs, and offer a high level of comfort and pressure relief. A total contact orthosis offers even more comfort and pressure relief, as it is made to fit the model of the patient’s foot.
Footwear plays a vital role in the treatment of diabetes-related foot problems, and it is essential to choose the appropriate type of footwear, depending on the patient’s needs. Furthermore, it is highly recommended to see a podiatrist, such as Dr. Gilbert Huang, DPM, to determine the best treatment for each patient. Podiatrists specialize in diagnosing and treating conditions that affect the feet, which can significantly improve the quality of life for those living with foot problems. Taking care of your feet is an important aspect of living well with diabetes.