How Custom Orthotics Can Help with Diabetic Foot Care
Diabetic foot care is as much about preventing problems as it is about addressing them when they arise.
In fact, diabetic foot care should be more about preventative care, because managing it effectively can help most problems from ever existing in the first place!
We may recommend custom orthotic inserts or diabetic shoes as part of a diabetic foot care plan, and we understand there can be a stigma around such tools. The terms tend to conjure images of stodgy, beige boringness and inaction.
But that’s far from the truth! Orthotics and diabetic shoes are not designed to limit your life, but to help keep you moving and doing what you love—all with fewer risks and worries about diabetic complications.
To understand why, let’s start with why we would recommend these items in the first place.
Forces and Friction
When diabetes is in the picture, the health of your feet should always be a consideration. Over time, complications of the disease can slowly increase two nasty consequences.
First, blood flow to the feet can be impeded, meaning that wounds and other injuries to the feet have a more difficult time healing. Overall healing times can slow, due to cells not receiving the nutrients and other factors they need to heal in the quantities they should. These effects tend to happen in the feet first compared to other regions, as pumping blood to them from the heart is already more of a challenge to begin with.
Second, nerve damage to the feet can make it more difficult to sense when injuries have occurred, as the ability of your feet to sense anything can diminish. You can also blame reduced circulation for this, at least in part.
Together, these symptoms can create situations where wounds go unnoticed and are allowed to go untreated, becoming worse and potentially becoming infected.
An obvious preventative step to take, then, is reducing the risk of injury to your feet. However, this can mean a lot more than not stepping on thumbtacks.
Depending on the structure of your feet and ankles, the way you walk, and other factors, forces may not be distributed as evenly across your feet as they should be. This can leave areas of your feet under higher pressure than they are conditioned to endure, and having to endure such with nearly every step you take.
More pressure in an area can also mean more friction. This can lead to troublesome corns and calluses, and even more dangerous sores and ulcers if the condition of your skin has degraded.
Keeping diabetic feet protected means eliminating as many potential problem factors like these as possible; and that’s what custom orthotics and diabetic shoes do.
Evening the Odds
Custom orthotics are designed to provide cushioning and corrective support exactly where each patient needs them, and in the exact quantities that are needed. They are prescribed with precise specifications, much like a pair of eyeglasses would be.
The collective cushioning and support not only provide additional protection for problem areas, but can also offload excess weight from “hot spots” that may be more likely to develop calluses or sores.
Diabetic shoes can also be customized like orthotics, or be accommodating to orthotic inserts. In addition, diabetic shoes are also designed to be:
- Breathable, meaning your feet won’t tend to profusely sweat within them. Excess moisture against your feet can increase discomfort, as well as the likelihood of blisters and other skin conditions.
- Seamless against skin, avoiding extra spots of potential friction between your feet and the inside of the shoe.
- Extra shock-absorbent, to further reduce the risk of sports injuries.
Custom orthotics and diabetic shoes are not here to keep you confined. On the contrary, they are made to help you keep moving comfortably, step by step! The benefits of exercise and activity are crucial to any patient with diabetes, and that is fully reflected in recommended footwear.
If you would like to increase your activity—or already engage with a workout plan—please make sure to let us know. We may be able to make further modifications to your diabetic foot care plan to provide even greater support to you.
And also, yes, diabetic shoes come in many more colors than beige, as well as a variety of styles!
Footwear for a Finer Future
Even if your feet feel perfectly fine right now, it’s never too soon to start taking better care of diabetic feet. If pre-existing conditions make custom orthotics and/or diabetic shoes a good idea, we will certainly say so in our recommendations.
And if you already wear custom orthotics or specified shoes, it’s also important to have them checked out at least once per year (in most cases) to have them adjusted, refurbished, or replaced if necessary.
If you have questions about your diabetic foot care, or would like to make an appointment to discuss having us in your corner as a podiatric part of your team, please don’t hesitate to contact us at (480) 963-9000. We can schedule an appointment with you.
And if you prefer electronic communication, you can fill out our online contact form anytime. Someone from our office will reach out to you during our normal office hours.