Diabetes is the leading cause of limb amputations in the United States, with most cases stemming from an inability to feel a minor injury and subsequent infection. As a result, people with diabetes should never walk barefoot—even indoors. That said, there are many ways people living with diabetes can protect their feet fashionably in all environments throughout the year.
Alternatives to Going Barefoot for Diabetes Patients
No matter which shoes you choose, it is vital that they fit your feet perfectly. Shoes that are too big or too small can rub against the skin, causing blisters that tear open the skin and invite infection. Diabetes patients should also inspect the inside of the shoe for debris (such as pebbles or sand) that could rub against their feet as they walk.
You should have shoes that adequately protect your feet in all situations, including:
- In the house. Even if your home is carpeted, you should have a dedicated pair of indoor shoes that are worn with socks. The shoes should be closed-toe, cover the entire foot (mules or slides are not recommended), and have a rubberized sole for extra grip.
- On the beach. Beaches are covered in a variety of hazards (such as seashells, broken glass, debris, or smoldering campfires) that can lead to an infected foot ulcer. Beach shoes or surf shoes with a strong tread can help protect feet against injuries.
- In the yard. Outdoor activities should be done in proper footwear. In winter, this means warm boots with good ankle support and a heavy tread. In warmer months, patients can avoid burns from walking on hot pavement by wearing tennis shoes.
- At the pool or gym. If you are visiting a public area where others go barefoot, you should protect yourself from fungal infections or plantar warts by investing in a pair of shower shoes.
If you have experienced foot complications related to diabetes, the foot and ankle specialists at Greater Washington Advanced Podiatry are here to help. Call our office today at (301) 515-3338 or fill out our contact form to get started.