People with diabetes are familiar with the condition known as peripheral neuropathy. This condition causes sensations of numbness and tingling in the toes and fingers. It can lead to complete loss of feeling in the extremities. People who have diabetes often experience this condition as a loss of sensation in the soles of the feet and in their toes. This is a potentially dangerous circumstance because it means that the diabetic cannot tell if his or her feet are cold or wet or even if they have been injured. This is why diabetics are advised to inspect their feet thoroughly every day.
Another good idea for diabetics is the use of special shoes developed for foot neuropathy sufferers. These shoes are especially designed to protect the feet and to help retain sensation in the soles of the feet and in the toes.
These days, neuropathy footwear is quite sophisticated in both appearance and function, and advances in design are moving forward by the day. Whether you have this condition, or even if you are a diabetic but have not yet experienced any numbness or tingling, investing in a good set of specially designed neuropathy shoes is a must.
Don’t let an aversion to wearing “orthopedic shoes” stop you from looking into this valuable tool to help you manage and/or fight off this potentially dangerous condition. Here are 8 smart tips that will help you make the right choice in peripheral neuropathy footwear.
Choosing The Right Protective Footwear
If you catch your condition early (or want to head it off) there are a number of non-orthotic footwear choices you can enjoy. Look for comfortable, supportive shoes made by companies such as:
- Hush Puppies
- New Balance
Be sure to work closely with your doctor to establish and maintain an effective foot care regimen.
If your condition is more advanced, you will need to look into specially designed footwear. Your doctor will surely give you some good recommendations.
Whether you are shopping for shoes over the counter or choosing among specially designed neuropathy footwear, keep these guidelines in mind as you shop:
- Flexibility: Your new shoes should be flexible and stretchy to accommodate swelling.
- Softness: The body of the shoe should be soft and should not have seams that might cause irritation and injury.
- Support: The shoes should be made of a material that is both giving and supportive.
- Springiness: The insole of the shoes should be springy and supportive. Look for shoes with a “Plastazote” foam sole. This material is self-adjusting because it conforms to heat in order to accommodate pressure.
- Customability: It is helpful if the insole is removable so that you can replace it with custom insoles and arch supports as needed.
- Wiggle Room: Be sure the toe box of any shoes you purchase is both wide and high so that you can move and spread your toes freely.
- Heel Stability: A shoe sole with good heel support will keep your heels from sliding and prevent potential blistering.
- Ball-of-foot relief: Soles that have good arch support and plenty of room in the toe box relieve pressure on the balls of the feet.
Why Do You Need Peripheral Neuropathy Footwear?
Progressive weakening of the muscles in the fingers and toes, hands and feet and lower legs and forearms causes the condition known as peripheral neuropathy. This condition is very common among people with diabetes.
If ignored, this condition can lead to injuries, infection and/or a complete loss of sensation and circulation in the extremities. This can result in a need for amputation, so it is easy to see that peripheral neuropathy should not be taken lightly.
Luckily, today we know that many of the symptoms and complications associated with diabetes can be managed, controlled or even eliminated with good diet, healthy lifestyle habits and the use of specially designed supportive items such as peripheral neuropathy footwear.