When you live with diabetes, foot care becomes a higher priority than it might be for an otherwise healthy individual. Keeping tabs on your feet can prevent serious complications and, when handled responsibly, can actually help improve the quality of your life. Part of your diabetic foot care is ensuring that you have shoes that will keep you safe and not lead to potentially dangerous situations themselves.
Diabetic Foot Care Basics
Looking at the big picture of diabetic foot care, you will see there are a variety of actions that need to be taken to help manage your condition, including:
- Inspect your feet daily, paying close attention to catch anything out of the ordinary at its earliest stages. This means staying vigilant for cuts, scrapes, ingrown toenails, corns, calluses, and ulcers.
- Keep your feet clean by washing them every day with warm (not hot!) water and mild soap. Afterwards, dry them thoroughly, taking special care to ensure that the areas between your toes are not damp and inviting to microorganisms.
- Keep your toenails clipped properly to avoid ingrown toenails and other potential hazards. If you do not feel comfortable doing this yourself, contact our office.
Choosing the Right Diabetic Shoes
Another major component to your diabetic foot care plan is wearing the proper shoes for your condition. Keeping your feet safe and healthy is essential, and footwear plays a major role in that. In part, the shoes you select should help prevent various conditions, including bunions, corns and calluses, ingrown toenails, hammertoes, and blisters.
When we look at preventing those issues, it is important to note that how a shoe fits can certainly impact this function. Shoes that are comfortable and fit well—models that give your toes room to wiggle—are less likely to cause or contribute to the development of bunions and hammertoes. At the same time, shoes need to also not be so loose that they can lead to blisters on your feet. The fit you are looking for cradles your heel comfortably, while also providing just under a half an inch in the front from your longest toe.
Some tips for helping to ensure a proper fit include:
- Buy shoes in the late afternoon or early evening. Your feet swell during the course of a normal day and this means that shoes that fit well in the morning may become tight after lunch.
- One of your feet is likely to be larger than your other one, so buy models that fit the larger of the two.
- Worry less about the size that is stamped on the inside of shoe than how it actually fits. Keep in mind that a size 9 for one manufacturer will vary at least a little bit from the same size for another company.
- Walk in the shoes at the store to make sure they feel right and fit comfortably. Follow the same process when you get home to ensure they will work for you.
Additional Shoe Considerations
If you live with diabetes, you should always wear shoes, even when in the house. This is simply to avoid the risk of stepping on something that will cut your foot, or stubbing your toe and having it develop into a major condition.
Since you should always be wearing a pair of shoes, have at least two pairs that you can alternate on a daily basis. Doing so will give each pair plenty of time to dry out in between uses. This will help reduce the risk of damp shoes becoming a breeding ground for microorganisms that could put you at risk for a fungal infection.
Choosing the right pair of shoes is a part of a complete diabetic foot care plan, but there is certainly more to it than that. If you are living with diabetes and do not have a plan, let Waukesha Foot Specialists help. Contact our Waukesha, WI office by calling (262) 544-0700 and we can help you with all of your diabetic foot care needs!