Diabetics: Why Your Shoes Matter

A man shoe shoppingWhen you have diabetes, you know you have to pay special attention to your feet. But do you pay enough attention to your choice of shoes?

Diabetic nerve damage, or neuropathy, can lessen your ability to feel pain — especially in your feet. That’s why it’s important to inspect your feet daily and choose your shoes wisely. You can get a corn, blister, callus, or foot injury and not be aware of it. Any of those foot problems can develop into open sores, called foot ulcers. Wearing well-fitting, comfortable shoes can prevent potentially serious problems.

If you haven’t had your foot measured in a while, visit a shoe store to see what size you should wear. Make sure you haven’t been habitually buying shoes that are too small or too big, which can be an invitation for blisters and calluses.

About six out of 10 people with diabetes are wearing the wrong size shoes, according to a study at the University of Dundee in the United Kingdom. Another study found that only about one-fourth of all people wear the right size shoe.

When people with diabetes start experiencing nerve damage or numbness, they often gravitate toward shoes that are too small because tight shoes make it easier for them to feel the snugness on their feet. They mistake that tightness for good support. Instead, they need to wear shoes with comfortable — not tight — support.

Once you know your correct size, here are nine guidelines for choosing shoes when you have diabetes: