Diabetes can reek havoc on a diabetic’s feet. It can cause decreased sensations in the feet, making injuries less noticeable, and it can cause decreased blood circulation to the feet which decreases your body’s ability to fight infection and to heal properly.
Choosing the right footwear can drastically reduce injuries to your feet such as cuts and bruises, skin irritations from friction, or sores from squished toes. Shoes should be snug so that your foot doesn’t slide around inside them, but not tight. You should be able to wiggle your toes, and it’s best to choose breathable materials such as leather.
According to a study published on Diabetic Foot Canada’s website, you should look for shoes with smooth, seamless linings and without ridges, rough spots or wrinkles inside. They also recommend that shoes should have a thick, flexible rubber sole, a closed toe and heel, and have a rounded or square toe rather than a pointed toe. You should also avoid high heels (taller than one inch) and sandals that have thongs between the toes.
Your choice of socks is also very important to proper foot care. They shouldn’t have a tight cuff, which would restrict the blood circulation to your feet, or have any holes, which could also reduce blood flow to a toe sticking out through. Special diabetic socks are available which do not have seams to irritate skin. Breathable fabrics such as cotton or a cotton-wool blend are great choices. The study on Diabetic Foot Canada’s site also suggests wearing white or light coloured socks; an interesting tip to keep in mind as it allows you to easily see bleeding or weeping from injuries or infections.
If you have diabetes, you should always wear some kind of comfortable, appropriate footwear, even indoors. Slippers can be worn inside – choose a pair that will fit well and provide some protection against stubbed toes and scrapes.
Check your feet daily for cuts, bruises, ingrown toenails, callouses, blisters, cracks, or other wounds. Remember that even small injuries, left untreated, can severely affect a diabetic’s foot health. Don’t take chances with minor wounds that could lead to major consequences! If you notice any issues, see your chiropodist for assessment and treatment. If you live or work near the Greater Toronto Area, Step by Step Professional Family Foot Care would love to join your health care team to help you manage the effects of diabetes on your foot health. Give our office a call today to set up an appointment.