Summer Toes, Feet And Summer Shoes: Part Two

Once feet are pampered, it's time to choose shoes.

Joy Pape By Joy Pape, RN, BSN, CDE, WOCN, CFCN

Now that we've got the tootsies out of the way, it's time to look at how you are going to protect your pretty feet and toes. Since you must now think about protection as well as looks, do you wonder what shoes you should buy now that you have diabetes? There are some great looking shoes out there, you just may have to take a little time and shop a little more.

The American Diabetes Association reports the rate of amputations is 10 times higher than for people without diabetes. Most people who have had a foot or leg amputated never thought it would happen to them. You probably don't think it will happen to you either. You have a choice. Choosing the right shoes can make the difference between having an amputation and keeping your feet forever.

What are the right shoes? Buyer beware! Many people will try to sell you a shoe calling it a "diabetic shoe." Since there is no one shoe that is a diabetic shoe, don't buy it unless recommended by your podiatrist or certified pedorthist.

The right shoe is the shoe that protects your foot and fits you. Most experts recommend a flat, leather, shoe with enough room in the toebox (area where your toes are), so your toes, or any part of your foot, don't rub and cause a sore. That's the short of it, but you do need more details. Many of you hear that and think of those ugly shoes you've seen "old people" wear and don't want any part of them.

We at dLife know fashion is important to you as well as comfort and protection. Here are some tips for picking out summer shoes that are more diabetes friendly.

  • Shop live.
    Don't buy shoes on the internet. Try them on to make sure you have a good fit. This you can never tell online.
  • Shop for shoes mid afternoon or later.
    Your foot swells as the day goes on. If you buy your shoes too early in the day, they may be too tight as the day goes on.
  • Protection is important.
    Although there are many sandals out there, they really don't give you much protection. The strap can also rub and cause a sore on your foot. If you must wear sandals, be sure to break them in slowly, wearing them only a few hours a day. Check under your strap area If the strap goes between your toes, check that area often. If you notice any redness or soreness, take them off immediately and change into another pair of shoes you know works for you.
  • Don't go barefoot.
    You've heard this over and over but it's particularly important in the summer. The ground, sand, or pavement can be very hot and cause burns. Even in the water, wear shoes or even sandals to protect you from stepping on or being bit by something you can't see.
  • Wear flats.
    Thank God flats are coming back into fashion. It may take a bit more looking but there are cute ballerina shoes out there that are now stylish. Be sure they are not too tight on your toes or bunion area (if you have bunions). Let's face it ladies, we know you will wear heels, but understand this puts a lot of pressure on the ball of your foot and increases your chances for sores and cramps. If you just must wear heels to an event, wear your flats or comfortable shoes to the event, change to your heels for your event, and go back to your flats or comfortable shoes after the event.
  • Don't expect a shoe to stretch.
    How many times have you tried on a pair of shoes you really wanted but they were just too tight. You wanted them so bad you thought, "Oh, they'll stretch." They don't always stretch and you can't afford the wearing period before they stretch. So, buy shoes that fit and feel right in the store.
  • Take your shoes home before you wear them anywhere.
    How many pair of shoes have you bought that once you wore them they didn't work? Once you're worn your shoes most places won't take them back. Wear them at home for 2 hours first to see if they do fit in real life. If so, great, they are a keeper. If not, take them back and save your money.
  • Measure your feet each time you buy shoes.
    It's not that you need to find the correct size. Shoe sizes are not standardized. And, your foot size changes. Just make sure your new shoes work for you. Your feet even change size if you gain or lose weight.
  • When traveling, bring several pairs of shoes.
    You will usually do a lot more walking. You may even have new shoes for your trip. Change your shoes several times a day to protect your feet from any one shoe causing you a problem.
  • MOST IMPORTANT – Inspect your feet daily.
    The best way to know if you are developing a problem with your shoes is to look at your feet daily or more often. The more you look at your feet, the better you will be at noticing changes early. If you see a red or sore area, think about how that might have happened. If it looks like it's the shoes you wore, change to another shoe you know works. If you see no improvement within 24 hours, call you health care team.
  • If the shoe fits, wear it and EnJOY!

Read Joy's bio here.

Read more of Joy Pape's columns.

NOTE: The information is not intended to be a replacement or substitute for consultation with a qualified medical professional or for professional medical advice related to diabetes or another medical condition. Please contact your physician or medical professional with any questions and concerns about your medical condition. 

PREVIOUS: Summer Toes, Feet, and Shoes: Part 1

Last Modified Date: July 08, 2013

All content on dLife.com is created and reviewed in compliance with our editorial policy.

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