Tips to choose the right footwear for those living with diabetes | Fashion Trends - Hindustan Times
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Tips to choose the right footwear for those living with diabetes

ByZarafshan Shiraz, New Delhi
Jul 27, 2023 11:52 AM IST

With the right footwear, diabetic patients can minimise the risk of complications such as foot ulcers and amputations. Expert shares tips

For individuals living with diabetes, the journey to optimal foot health is fraught with challenges where reduced blood flow and nerve damage leave them vulnerable to a host of foot problems. However, with the right footwear, they can minimise the risk of complications such as foot ulcers and amputations.

Tips to choose the right footwear for those living with diabetes (Photo by Matheus Bertelli on Pexels)
Tips to choose the right footwear for those living with diabetes (Photo by Matheus Bertelli on Pexels)

Custom-Made or Prefabricated: The Great Footwear Debate

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Rajiv Kovil, Diabetologist at Zandra Healthcare and Co-Founder of Rang De Neela initiative, shared, “Diabetic individuals often wonder whether custom-made or prefabricated footwear is the better choice. According to Dr Kovil, both types of footwear can be suitable as long as they provide comfort. However, for those who struggle with finding the right fit and experience foot deformities, custom-made shoes are preferable.”

The Key Features of Diabetic Footwear

When shopping for diabetic footwear, there are some essential features to look for. Dr Kovil emphasized the importance of lightweight shoes that allow your feet to move and breathe. He said, “A shock-absorbing sole is crucial, as it helps alleviate pressure on the bottom of the foot. Additionally, a wide and adjustable toe box ensures ample space for your toes, preventing rubbing and blisters. Opt for shoes with laces or adjustable straps to accommodate any swelling or changes in foot size throughout the day. Remember, a solid back provides extra support and stability.”

Why Footwear Matters to Those Living with Diabetes?

Diabetic footwear plays a vital role in reducing the risk of foot ulcers and subsequent amputations. Proper shoes promote comfort and help maintain good foot health. Dr Kovil asserted that lightweight and breathable footwear can enhance circulation and reduce the chances of skin abrasion. The goal is to protect the feet and provide a comfortable environment that minimises the risk of foot-related complications.

Choosing the Right Shoes: Expert Advice

According to Dr Rajiv Kovil, following are some expert tips to consider when buying shoes for diabetics:

  • Go footwear shopping in the evening hours as feet are likely to have slight swellings after a tiring day.
  • Opt for diabetic shoes with a higher and wider toe box, offering additional room for toe movement.
  • Examine the inner lining carefully to ensure it is seamless and devoid of friction-inducing seams.
  • Choose shoes with adjustable straps or laces, allowing accommodation for foot swelling throughout the day.
  • Seek shoes with removable insoles, which should be replaced periodically to maintain proper cushioning and support. Custom orthotics may also be necessary for some individuals.
  • Consider shoes with a reinforced toe box to protect against impact, without the need for steel toes.
  • Select diabetic shoes made from high-quality materials that conform to the foot and provide breathability. Full-grain leather is an excellent choice, although suitable synthetics and textiles can also offer comfort. Avoid stiff materials.

Where to Find Diabetic-Friendly Shoes

Dr Rajiv Kovil advised, “To find the right diabetic footwear, start by consulting your primary care doctor, diabetologist or podiatrist. These healthcare professionals can assess your feet and make appropriate recommendations. For a more personalised fit, consider visiting an orthotist or pedorthist, who are trained to design and modify shoes specifically for individuals with diabetes.”

Footwear Pitfalls to Avoid

Dr Rajiv Kovil cautioned that individuals with diabetes should steer clear of certain types of shoes to protect their feet:

  • Avoid shoes with pointed toes, as they can aggravate toes and restrict circulation.
  • Say no to shoes without arch support, as they can lead to tissue breakdown.
  • Ensure a proper fit, avoiding shoes that are too tight or too loose, which can lead to foot injuries.
  • Limit the use of high heels, and when worn, opt for round-toe styles with heels below 2 inches.

By investing in appropriate footwear and following expert advice, individuals with diabetes can take proactive steps to ensure foot health and minimise the risk of complications. Remember, every step you take towards diabetic foot care is a step towards a healthier future.

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