Stay On Your Toes

Finding the right doctors, shoes for your feet

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

This month a lot of people want to know how to find a "diabetic foot doctor." I commend you for wanting to see a specialist for your feet. That tells me you realize the importance of taking care of your feet. I hope you are realizing this because you are keeping on top of things and learning more everyday about the importance of keeping up and learning all you can about your diabetes.

There are several ways to find a "diabetic foot doctor." One way is to speak to your health care provider and ask for a referral to see a podiatrist. Another way is to check with The American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) where you can link to Find a Podiatrist on the home page. Call 1-800-FOOTCARE (366-8227) for information on Foot Health. For general questions call 1-301-571-9200.

I've also been asked several questions about where people can buy comfortable shoes. I'm so glad you asked about comfortable shoes and not beautiful shoes. Again, many of you are learning and thinking. Don't get me wrong, we all like nice-looking shoes, but comfort and protection are of utmost importance.

I think it's important for people who have diabetes to work with foot/shoe specialists to help pick out shoes. Not only will you get a good recommendation or even a good pair of shoes, but also a foot exam with education of how to take care of your feet. Many stores claim they have shoes for people who have diabetes but I recommend to people who have diabetes that they see a podiatrist or a Certified Pedorthist (CPED). Remember, diabetes puts you at risk for serious foot problems. Your feet should be taken seriously and so should your footwear that protects your feet. Many problems are caused by ill-fitting shoes.

Many podiatrists work with Certified Pedorthists. The field of pedorthics is the design, manufacture, modification, and fit of footwear, orthotics, and devices to prevent or alleviate foot problems caused by disease, overuse, or injury. A Certified Pedorthist has fulfilled and maintains educational requirements to be certified by the Board for Certification in Pedorthics.

People who have diabetes and any foot problems, including thick nails and discoloration should see a podiatrist. Together you can decide the best prevention and treatment for you. Your podiatrist can also refer you to a CPED to help you pick out the best shoes just for you. Together they will know what insurance covers and help you with that also. Some shoe stores are owned by a CPED or have a CPED working there who can help you, so be sure to ask when you go looking for shoes.

So remember, there are lots of us who have diabetes. Our feet are all different and our feet are important. Treat them with the care they deserve. See a specialist. You'll be glad you did.


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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