Part of a comprehensive plan to treat diabetes is a plan to treat the lower extremity, especially the feet. According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control), a comprehensive foot care program can reduce amputations by as much as 85%. This plan includes visiting your podiatrist where she will do a comprehensive diabetic foot exam and evaluate any risk factors that your may have in your feet that could lead to sores, non-healing ulcers, infections, and eventually amputations. Part of that plan at Prairie Path Foot and Ankle Clinic includes evaluation for diabetic shoes.
What are the benefits of diabetic specific shoes?
1. They have an extra wide toe box - in order to accommodate those bony prominences. Without this feature, the top of the shoe could rub against the toes and may cause an open sore.
2. They contain accommodative inserts - think of the inserts as "memory foam" for your feet, and act as padding and shock absorption to decrease irregular pressures on the bottom of the feet. They are designed to prevent corns and calluses from forming and turning into open sores.
3. They are fit by a highly trained medical assistant or physician - never buy them from a mail order catalog; you must protect yourself and your feet by having them measured, sized, and fit by an expert.
4. They are often covered by Medicare under the Medicare Therapeutic Shoe Bill enacted by Congress in 1993. There are many guidelines that need to be followed; just because you have diabetes and are covered by Medicare does not automatically mean that you qualify for shoes. Diabetic shoes and inserts are also often covered by private insurance companies too.
5. They are comfortable and stylish too! Gone are the days of only 2 styles and 2 colors... there are many types for many walks of life, from athletic shoes to dressy shoes to more traditional shoes, Velcro, ties, you name it.
The most important benefit is that they prevent complications in the feet. If it can prevent sores, ulcerations, and infections, then those are reasons enough.
Visit us at Prairie Path Foot and Ankle Clinic for an evaluation by one of our doctors. We can determine if you qualify for diabetic shoes and will work with you to help you benefit from them.