Do Not Forget Your Shoes!

Make smart footwear choices when traveling.

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

It's summer and many of you are traveling. One of the diabetes foot care basics is not to bring new shoes on a trip. Or, if you do, bring at least one other pair of shoes with you that you know fit well.

If you're like most of us, you buy new shoes for your journey. You want to look good! And, you don't want to pack too much so you leave your "Old Faithful" shoes at home. I've done it too, and so have many of my patients.

When traveling, many of you walk more than you're used to. Those new shoes may have felt good in the store, but without wearing them a bit longer, and getting your feet used to them, you don't know how they will or will not fit until you wear them a while. I've seen wounds, blisters and sores on all parts of people's feet because of this and because they didn't bring those good fitting shoes to put on to halt the progression to skin breakdown, or if they did bring another pair, they wouldn't put them on because they didn't look the greatest. When you have diabetes, this is dangerous.

Whenever I feel something in my shoe, I'm reminded that pain is my friend. And, pain can be your friend too, that is, when it comes to protecting your body. If you feel pain because your shoes are too tight, from your shoes rubbing against your skin, or because you have a foreign object in your shoe, stop, readjust, and be glad. This type of pain is what we call protective pain. It "talks" to you. It's telling you, "Something is wrong. Fix it!" Some people who have diabetes no longer have the pain to tell them to readjust. These people are at an even higher risk of developing foot sores that can lead to amputations. Why? Because they can't feel the rub that causes the sore. They don't know they should stop and change their shoes before it's too late.

So summer travelers, be glad and listen up. If you're getting ready for a trip and must buy new shoes, give yourself plenty of time to wear them at home first. Wear them a few hours a day with a good fitting pair of shoes nearby in case the new ones cause a problem. If they cause a problem, don't take them with you. Stop tricking yourself into thinking they will get better with time. And if they don't cause a problem, then take them. Either way, have a great time and listen if your feet are talking to you to make a change.

For more about diabetes peripheral neuropathy, see Diabetes and Feet – What's the Deal? and Shoes Can Make or Break Your Outfit.


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.

Last Modified Date: July 08, 2013

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

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by Brenda Bell
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