Diabetic Foot Care

Diabetes is a lifelong chronic disease that is caused by high levels of sugar in the blood. It can also decrease your body's ability to fight off infections, which is especially harmful in your feet. When diabetes is not properly controlled, damage can occur to organs and nerves, and the immune system may become impaired.

With damage to your nervous system, you may not be able to feel your feet properly. Normal sweat secretion and oil production that lubricates the skin of the foot is impaired, which can lead to abnormal pressure on the skin, bones, and joints of the foot during walking and other activities. This can even lead to the breakdown of the skin of the foot, which often causes sores to develop. If you have diabetes, it is important to prevent foot problems before they occur, recognize problems early, and seek the right treatment when a problem does happen.

Diabetic Complications and Your Feet

When it comes to your feet, there are several risk factors that can increase your chances of developing foot problems and diabetic infections in the legs and feet.

First of all, poorly fitting shoes are one of the biggest culprits of diabetic foot complications. If you have red spots, sore spots, blisters, corns, calluses, or consistent pain associated with wearing shoes, you must get new, properly fitted shoes immediately.

Additionally, if you have common foot abnormalities such as flat feet, bunions, or hammertoes, prescription shoes or orthotics from your podiatrist may be necessary to further protect your feet from other damage.

People who have long-standing or poorly controlled diabetes are also at risk for damage to the nerves in their feet, which is known as peripheral neuropathy. Some 60 to 70% of diabetics have mild to severe nerve damage resulting in impaired sensation in the feet. If you have nerve damage, you may not be able to feel your feet normally and you may also be unable to sense the position of your feet and toes while walking and balancing, which can cause even more harm to your feet.

Healthy nerves allow people to sense if their shoes are too tight or if their shoes are rubbing on the feet too much. With diabetes, you may not be able to properly sense minor injuries, such as cuts, scrapes, and blisters – all signs of abnormal wear, tear, and foot strain. The following can also compromise the health of your feet:

  • Poor circulation
  • Trauma to the foot
  • Infections
  • Smoking

Diabetes can be extremely dangerous to your feet, so take precautions now. You can avoid serious problems such as losing a toe, foot, or leg by following proper prevention techniques offered by your podiatrist. Prevention is the key to saving your feet and eliminating pain, and prescription diabetic footwear can help provide the extra protection your feet need.

Diabetic Shoes

Diabetic shoes are specially constructed to protect your feet. They’re also extra deep to accommodate special inserts, which can be either heat-molded to your feet or custom made. Special features and materials combine to provide your feet with the extra protection they need.

Today’s Diabetic Shoes Fit Your Lifestyle!

When people hear the term “therapeutic shoes,” they often think of ugly, bulky, old black shoes. Today’s diabetic shoes come in many beautiful colors and styles – just like regular shoes. Providers today understand that if you don’t love your shoes, you won’t enjoy the health benefits because you won’t wear them.

To meet Medicare requirements and qualify for reimbursement, diabetic shoes and inserts must be prescribed by your doctor and professionally fit by a qualified foot care professional. If you have Medicare Part B insurance, you may qualify each year for reimbursement for:

  • 1 pair of extra-depth diabetic shoes, and
  • 3 pairs of heat-moldable or custom-fabricated inserts

Other insurances may also cover prescription diabetic footwear. Ask your doctor if you qualify.

Do You Have Diabetes? We Provide Expert Care of Your Feet in St. Louis

The podiatrists at Ankle & Foot Specialists of St. Louis have extensive experience with diabetes-related foot problems. If you have diabetes, trust us to help treat and prevent problems with your feet. Call (314) 739-8863 or request an appointment online at one of our three convenient locations in Bridgeton, Des Peres or O’Fallon, Missouri.