Diabetes and Feet - top tips for looking after your feet and finding footwear

World Diabetes Day 14 November 2022

November 14th is World Diabetes Day. Someone is diagnosed with diabetes every two minutes and this year Diabetes UK are asking all of us to help them #RewriteTheStory to aid earlier diagnosis as this can help save lives.

Diabetes can cause your nerves to be less responsive or even stop working (neuropathy), which means you could lose feeling in your feet. This in turn means that you might not be aware when you’ve injured your feet. Diabetes can also impact the way your body heals, which means these injuries can lead to ulcers and amputations. Sadly there are more than 20 leg, foot and toe amputations each day due to diabetes according to Diabetes UK . Many of these are preventable. So we are doing our bit to #RewriteTheStory by reiterating the tips Diabetes UK advise for looking after your feet (click here for Diabetes UK's leaflet on Simple Steps to Healthy Feet), footwear tips and how we can help and advise you in finding the right shoe for your sole.

Tips for looking after your feet

Clean your feet daily ensuring that you dry them thoroughly, especially between your toes. Also take this opportunity to look at your feet. If there are colour changes, swelling, pain, cuts or bruises or anything else that is causing you concern, speak to your Diabetes team.

Be aware if you are losing sensation in your feet by doing the “Touch the Toes Test”. How to do this can be found by following this link. If you are losing sensation, then take precautions to protect your feet, especially when walking on hot, cold or sharp surfaces, by avoiding going barefoot.

Be careful when cutting your toe nails or removing hard skin to avoid damaging the skin. Be sure to cut your nails straight across to avoid ingrowing toenails. If you are concerned speak to your local podiatrist, footcare specialist or Diabetes team for advice.

Footwear Tips

Shoes should fit comfortably with room for your toes to wiggle but have a snug fit at the heel.

Footwear with an adjustable strap or laces are always best. This enables you to adjust the fit depending on the time of day, if your feet are swelling or simply due to the different hosiery you are wearing. A strap will also hold your foot in place better and therefore reduce the chance of the shoe rubbing at your heel.

For ladies, avoid wearing too high a heel. Our feet take our entire body weight (and more with every heel strike). High heels will force this weight through the ball of your foot naturally pushing your toes into the toe box area.

Avoid very pointed toe shapes. These are not only harder to ensure a good fit, but our feet are not naturally shaped this way. As a result there is more likelihood of you squishing your toes against the side of the shoe.

Before putting your shoes on, check the inside of the shoes. Ensure there is no packaging left inside, that something hasn't fallen inside them that shouldn’t have and that there are no rough edges or stitching on the inside of the shoe that could cause rubbing.

Our feet have over 250,000 sweat glands and can produce over half a pint of sweat per day! Our shoes can absorb around 60% so its advisable to alternate your shoes each day to allow your shoes to dry out, preventing fungal infections.

Alter the shoes you wear daily not only to allow them to dry out, but also to exercise your arches and tendons in your feet and legs by differing the heel heights.
Soft leather is the best material as it’s natural and breathes allowing perspiration to escape. It will also mould to your foot.

Hosiery made from natural materials are best as again they allow your feet to breathe. The fit is as important as the fit of your shoes – too big and you can end up with wodges of material which can rub, too small and they can restrict your circulation. Be aware of loose threads that can become entangled around your toes and of the casting off knots that can cause rubbing around the toes. It may also be worth considering diabetic socks.

Ensure that you wear a slipper with good construction and ideally one with a closure. Slippers that slip about on the foot can be dangerous and may result in a visit to A&E - definitely to be avoided!

How SoleLution can help

As shoe fitters, we acknowledge that we are not medically trained, BUT we do know about shoes, how to fit them and the pros and cons of the shoes we stock. However, we can only advise properly, if you tell us all the facts. We want you to tell us if you have diabetes, or any other foot conditions or concerns for that matter. We need you to tell us if you struggle to know how the shoes feel when we are fitting them and we want you to tell us if you like the shoes we are offering or not - just because you are looking for comfort, doesn't always mean you need to compromise on style. We promise that we won’t get upset or take it personally, we just want to make sure that we help you find the right shoe for your sole.

We are often asked if we measure adult feet in store. We have taken the decision not to as we find that not only does every brand fit differently, but this can vary across each style as well. There is no standard in shoes and for that we are grateful (albeit sometimes a little frustrated) as none of us have "standard" feet. We would rather you are focused on how the shoe is fitting and not what the size says on the box.

SoleLution stock a range of styles from DB and Joya that are great for a variety of foot related problems.

DB offer a range of wider fitting shoes, boots and sandals. They design their shoes to ensure they are as smooth as possible internally and some styles are completely seam free in the toe box area to reduce the possibility of rubbing. As one of their gold star stockists, we are able to order in for you from their catalogue free of charge, whilst still offering you our full fitting service to ensure the shoe really does fit. We stock a range of their sizes in store and so if you are able to visit us, we will ask you to try on something we have in your size and check the fit, to give us a guide as to which size we should be ordering in for you in the styles you are interested in. This is especially important if you have not been wearing a wider fit but maybe should have been, as we often go up in size to accomodate the width of our feet, which with DB you won't need to do. If you are not able to visit us in store then please pick up the phone (telephone 01275 843399) or email us (enquiries@solelution.co.uk) and we can advise further.

Joya's sole technology not only gives fewer pressure points on the feet as they optimally distribute our weight through them, they also encourage better blood circulation and therefore improves and stimulates wound healing. We stock a selection of their styles at SoleLution and as already said regarding DB, we would always recommend you pop in store to have them fitted professionally.

We always want you to be happy with your purchase and advise that you take them home, wear them round the house, check your feet once you take your shoes off, and if you are at all concerned you pop them back to us within 14 days. So long as you have the original packaging, haven’t worn them outside and they are in a resaleable condition, then we are more than happy to exchange.

Let us help you #RewriteTheStory.

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