GET THE NEED-TO-KNOW: CHOOSING THE RIGHT FOOTWEAR CAN BE TRICKY LIVING WITH DIABETES!
by Dr. Kate Marsh
Earlier this year, new guidelines on footwear for people with diabetes were published. While the guidelines are aimed at health professionals working with people with diabetes, if you are living with diabetes it’s important that you know about the recommendations made within the guidelines.
So what are these recommendations? They are broken into three categories:
Recommendations for everyone with diabetes
Choose the right shoes. This means shoes that fit well and which protect and accommodate the shape of your feet. They should be the right length, width and depth and the toe area needs to match the shape of your forefoot and toes. Enclosed rather than open heel shoes are also recommended as these provide additional support and prevent injury to the heel area.
Don’t forget your socks. The guidelines recommend that people with diabetes always wear socks within their footwear, to provide additional protection for the feet and reduce rubbing. Socks should be made mostly from natural materials (to avoid excess moisture), be seamless and should not have elasticised tops.
Understand the importance of having the right footwear. The guidelines emphasise the need for all individuals with diabetes (and their family and caregivers) to be aware of the importance of having and wearing the right footwear, to help in preventing foot complications, including ulcers. Having regular foot checks is also essential.
Recommendations for those whose feet are at risk of ulceration
Recommendations for those with foot deformities or previous ulcers
Lastly, if you have an active foot ulcer, the guidelines don’t recommend particular footwear but emphasise the need for an offloading device (such as a special cast or boot) to reduce pressure in the area and help the ulcer to heal. These new guidelines can help you and your healthcare team to choose the right footwear for your individual needs.