Fort Berthold Diabetes Program

If the shoe fits…..

By Gwendolyn Davis, RN – Case Manager

High heels and low support loafers are often worn to workplaces each work day.   Sandals are easily slipped on for those warm day adventures to the lake.  Some shoes may seem like they fit your feet (and are super cute!), but have you considered the negative effects that these seemingly harmless shoes can have on your foot health?  

Wearing high-heels too often, studies have shown, can cause the calf muscle and Achilles tendon to shorten and stiffen. This can cause problems when shoes without heels are worn. By putting a great deal of pressure on the ball of the foot and by forcing the toes into a small toe box, high-heels can cause or may worsen many foot problems. Some common foot complications include corns, hammertoe, bunions, and plantar fasciitis. Certain types of sandals, including open toe and flip flops, do not offer an adequate amount of support and can allow foreign objects to enter the sandal and cause injury. 

Proper Shoe Fit 

Sizes vary among brands and styles. For example, I commonly wear a size 8.5 for most athletic shoes, but my boot size varies between sizes 9 to 9.5 to accommodate thicker socks in the winter months.  

Select a shoe that conforms to your foot shape. 

Have BOTH feet measured regularly, as it is common for feet to be different sizes.  Also, feet continue to lengthen and widen as age progresses. 

Do not wear new shoes for an entire day, instead wear them for only some of the day until you break them in. 

Stand during the fitting process, as fit can vary from the sitting position.  

The ball of foot should fit into widest part of shoe.

Don’t purchase shoes that feel too tight, expecting them to stretch. 

Your heel should fit comfortably with a minimal amount of slippage.  Extra friction can cause blisters and calluses.  

Walk in the shoes to make sure they fit and that they feel appropriate with movement.

What can be just as bad, if not worse, than wearing improper fitting footwear?  That would be wearing no shoes at all, whether inside or outside.  Uncontrolled and/or chronic diabetes can often times be accompanied by what is known as neuropathy, or nerve damage. When a patient experiences neuropathy of the feet, it can cause a loss of protective sensation with an inability to recognize when injury has occurred to the lower extremities.  I heard a story in the past about a beachgoer who did not realize how hot the asphalt and sand were due to the effects of neuropathy, and experienced burns on the bottoms of both feet.  It is just as important to wear protective footwear inside the house, as small pebbles or other debris can be tracked into the house by family members and pets. 

Diabetes Program Shoe Clinic 

Did you know that the Diabetes Program provides each diabetic patient one pair of shoes at no cost to the patient, every 18 months? The Diabetes Program holds shoe clinics on the 3rd Wednesday of each month from 10am – 2pm.  The appointment will take less than 15 minutes, during which a Key Care staff member will measure your feet and help you pick out the shoes that best fit your needs.  Diabetic shoes are being offered in more variations than ever, including walking shoes and work shoes.  We can reach out to Key Care for special needs such as toe molds as well.  Please call the diabetes program to make an appointment! 

To make an appointment for our tentative September diabetes shoe clinic (may be delayed due to COVID risk reduction measures), or for assistance with diabetes management/nutrition, call the Diabetes Program at 701-627-7931.