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The Right Shoe Matters
Many diabetic related foot problems can be traced back to the type of shoes you are wearing and whether or not you have a proper fit.
What are your shoes trying to tell you?Looking at the wear patterns on your shoes may help you get a better fit.
Shoe shop later in the day
Almost everyone develops some swelling in their feet by the end of the day, more if you spend a lot of time on your feet. If you wait until later in the day to shoe shop, you will be less likely to purchase shoes that are too tight.
Have your feet measured 1 or 2 times yearly
Before you invest in a new pair of shoes, invest some time in making sure you get the best fit. Measure the length, width and arch length of your feet with a Brannock device. If you have foot problems or are unsure about proper shoe fit, go to a shoe store that offers professional, personalized shoe fitting. A thorough shoe fitting may take a little more time but your feet will thank you for it!
Measure Both Feet
One foot is usually slightly larger than the other foot. Sometimes the difference is negligible but, in some instances, it can differ by a half or even full size. Buy the shoe size that fits the larger foot. There are a variety of shoe pads and inserts that can fill out a shoe if it is too big, but you cannot add space to a shoe that is too small. Some high end shoe stores, such as Nordstrom, will sell you a pair of shoes that are two different sizes.
Stand when measuring
Be sure to stand up when measuring your feet. When standing, your feet will spread out more. It is better to have someone else take the measurement, because you need to stand tall and look straight ahead with your weight centered over your foot. How you stand can affect the size and shape of your feet.
Don’t get hung up on shoe size
There are big differences in shoe sizes between shoe companies. So, just because your last pair of Ferragamo’s was a size 8 doesn’t mean a pair of Jimmy Choo’s will be an 8. This is especially prevalent in women’s shoe styles and designers. Don’t get hung up on thinking your feet are too big if you wear a size 9. Take care of your feet -- the shoe that fits, and looks great, is the shoe you want, regardless of the size on the inside.
Wear appropriate socks/hosiery
Wear the socks, hosiery or tights you would wear with the type of shoes you are trying on. The thickness of the sock will affect the fit of the shoe, so don’t wear gym socks to try on a pair of dress shoes.
Fit the arch properly
An important part of the shoe fit is the arch length. The arch length is measured from your heel to the ball of your foot (where your big toe joint bends). The bend in your big toe should match with where the shoe bends. With both shoes on, rise up onto your toes. If you feel the shoe bend before or after the big toe joint, then the shoe is not a good fit for your arch length.
Leave space at the front and back of shoe
The toes need room to move. Not having enough room for your toes may lead to corns, calluses or deformed toes. Be sure you have enough room to wiggle your toes. There should be about a 1/2 inch (length of the tip of your index finger) between the end of your longest toe (not always your big toe) and the end of the front of the shoe.
Your heel should fit comfortably in the shoe with a minimum amount of slipping - the shoes should not ride up and down on your heel when you walk. You do not want the back of the shoe too tight against the back of your heel. This may cause skin irritation and blisters. It is OK to have about a 1/8 of an inch between the back of your heel and the shoe.
Take Your Time
Never rush through a shoe purchase. Be sure to schedule enough time to try on shoes and spend some time walking around the store. Walk on different surfaces (carpet, tile, etc.), if available. Shoes should be comfortable in the store. Do not buy shoes with the hopes that some day they will be comfortable enough to wear, shoes will not stretch to fit. Make sure the ball of your foot fits comfortably into the widest part of the shoe. Even high fashion can be comfortable.
When you get your new shoes home, only wear them for one or two hours at a time until you are sure they are properly broken in.
Don't wear the same pair of shoes every day. Rotating between multiple shoes puts less wear and tear on the shoes and your feet.
Other things to consider when choosing shoes
In general, select shoes that conform as nearly as possible to the natural shape of your foot.
The upper part of the shoes should be made of a soft, flexible material. Shoes made of leather can reduce the possibility of skin irritations and allow the foot to breathe. Soles should provide solid footing and not be slippery. Thick soles cushion your feet when walking on hard surfaces.
Shoes with laces are easier to adjust and easier to keep on the feet. Shoes without laces cannot adjust for swelling variances and they are harder to keep on the feet, making your feet work harder.
Here’s a primer on how to properly lace shoes: Lacing Shoes for the Proper Fit
Pointed toe shoes force toes to conform to the shoe outline, which promotes the formation of bunions, hammertoes and other foot deformities. If you do wear pointed toe shoes, make it infrequently and only for short periods of time.
High heeled shoes are considered the “height” of fashion. But, high heels force your feet forward into the toe box and shift most of your body weight to the ball of the foot. That means the higher your heel, the greater your risk of foot problems and pain.
Low-heeled shoes are more comfortable, safer and less damaging than high-heeled shoes. If you must wear high heels, choose a moderate or low heel (not more than 2 inches). A shorter heel will give an elongated appearance if it is a thin stiletto type, rather than a thick or chunky heel.
Flip flops and Sandals
Flip-flops should be avoided by people with diabetes. They leave the feet unprotected and exposed to the elements, which can mean cold toes, sunburns, cuts, bruises and even fractures.
Flip flops also cause overuse injuries, such as stress fractures of the metatarsals, (the five long bones that reach out to the toes), which are common among flip-flop wearers. This is because you take shorter steps and, in order to grip the shoe with your toes, don’t bring your toes up as much when walking.
Inexpensive flip-flops are, generally, just a flat piece of rubber and the toe thong has no built in support. The lack of arch support can cause another common foot injury: plantar fasciitis, an inflammation of the tissue along the bottom of the foot that causes a stabbing pain, especially in the heel. People with flatter arches are more prone to such overuse injuries because they need more support for their muscles and ligaments
Selecting Athletic Shoes
Selecting the right athletic shoe for the “job” is just as important as selecting a street shoe.
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