Diabetes affects the body from head to toe, but diabetics need to be aware that those toes — and the rest of their feet — are particularly prone to problems. Proper foot care, including washing, drying, and inspecting your feet is crucial.
So is what you wear on your feet.
Diabetics should follow these 6 tips when purchasing socks and shoes:
- Always wear socks (and shoes). Going barefoot, even at home, is inadvisable for a diabetic.
- Buy socks specifically made for diabetics.
While diabetic socks are required for anyone who already has foot problems, we all know that prevention is the best medicine.
Diabetic socks offer the following advantages:
- No seams on the inside, to prevent irritation.
- Padding on the bottom, for good shock absorption.
- Non-elastic, non-binding tops, which aid circulation to the feet.
- Moisture-wicking material, since keeping feet dry helps prevent hot spots and infection.
- Throw out socks as soon as they have holes in them. Do not try to mend them; the extra bulk can irritate the foot and create a sore.
- Your feet need to breathe! Don’t wear vinyl or plastic shoes.
- Buy shoes specifically made for diabetics.
Diabetic shoes offer the following advantages:
- Increased depth, particularly in the toe box, to prevent abrasions.
- A thick, wide, shock-absorbing sole, which relieves pressure on the bottom of the foot.
- No inner seams, to prevent blisters.
- Get help from Medicare, if you can. If you have diabetes and at least one risk factor that involves your feet, such as a previous foot ulcer or poor circulation, Medicare Part B will cover one pair of diabetic shoes, including custom-molded shoes, and two or three pairs of orthotic inserts each year. Your doctor must certify that you qualify. Some private insurance plans also offer this benefit.
You may have diabetes, but you can still stand on your own two feet. Just be sure to protect them with the proper socks and shoes, so you can stay that way!