The rates of diabetes have risen sharply, especially in the developed countries following the wake of the obesity epidemic. Today, the most common cause of hospitalization among diabetic patients is foot problems.
Uncontrolled foot problems can quickly result in severe complications, including inadequate blood supply to the lower extremities and nerve damage. The two complications are responsible for slow healing wounds which can then progress to ulcers and infections. In this state, the infections could quickly become gangrenous leading to limb amputation.
Do I Need Diabetic Slippers?
Diabetic Foot Australia guidelines on footwear for people with diabetes show that inappropriate footwear is a top contributor to foot complications. Unsuitable footwear has been linked to 60-80 percent of all cases of foot problems. The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) says that most amputation and foot damage problems can be prevented by wearing therapeutic shoes and slippers that don’t create pressure spots. Because people with diabetes have an increased risk of foot problems, including peripheral edema, wearing diabetic slippers can promote circulation and reduce the risk. Here, find out more about these specially designed slippers for diabetics and whether you might need them.
What are Diabetic Slippers?
Also referred to as diabetic comfort slippers, they are designed to prevent the advancement or development of foot problems. They are also designed to prevent skin breakdowns. This is because they do not contain internal seams which can cause abrasions.
Patients with diabetic neuropathy are however exposed to feet damage because they don’t realize the presence of wounds and blisters. Ulcerations in diabetic people develop within hours due to poor blood circulation around the lower extremities. Diabetic slip-ons, when worn indoors, can help in the prevention of the complications associated with ulcers.
The slippers must meet the Medicare guidelines and should be prescribed by a podiatrist. Diabetic slippers brands such as Velcro and Dr. Comfort can be bought from different stores and outlets including Walmart and Dream Products. They come in varying colors, designs, and sizes, and can help in reducing tension, absorb pressure, and fight fatigue in the feet. Because they are built to distribute your weight, they offer stability and comfort.
How Diabetes Causes Foot Problems
Uncontrolled diabetes leads to poor blood circulation. It may also lead to the damage of nerves in the feet, a condition known as diabetic neuropathy. This condition causes the feet to feel numb and lose senses of feeling, making it harder to notice cuts and wounds. Untreated injuries result in ulceration and infections.
Open sores may then develop on the toes or under the feet causing calluses to set in. With diabetes, the following are likely to occur.
Should nerve damage set in, your foot is likely to lose its original shape. Hammertoe, a condition that causes the toe joints to bend inward is common among diabetics. Due to poor circulation associated with diabetes and ulcers that take long to heal, any concern with the feet including blisters and minor cuts should be treated with urgency. Incorrect or delayed treatment could in the future lead to amputation.
If you have diabetes, do not wear slippers that are too tight or too lose. Otherwise, foot problems could occur. Wearing slippers that are too short could trigger corns, hammertoes, damaged nails, and blisters. Hammertoes occur when toes are forced to bend inside the footwear. Corns develop when toes have little to no room for movement inside the slippers or shoes. This causes them to rub against the ends of the slippers. Tight slip-ons cause the feet to rub against the sides leading to calluses, and blisters.
Diabetic slip-ons are built with an extra wide toe box that does not allow your toes to rub against the fabric. You might want to choose diabetic sheepskin slippers which provide warmth to the feet, relief from pressure points, and dryness. If you have neuropathy, it means you are not able to feel pain in the feet, something that could cause wounds and dangerous ulcers to go unnoticed. Monitor your feet daily for signs of damage and ask your doctor or podiatrist for a recommendation of the best slippers for diabetic neuropathy.
Getting the Right Fit for Edema Slippers
Have your feet measured to ensure you are buying the correct fit of diabetic slippers. When buying specialist slip-ons by mail order or from the internet, it is essential that they fit well. It is important that you buy from established and trusted sites such as Amazon. Orthofeet Asheville men’s comfort leather slippers, for instance, are available on Amazon.
Should they not fit appropriately, you should be assured of a replacement. Once bought, the slippers need to be worn for about 20 minutes to test their effect on the feet. If you notice any signs of damage such as redness, ask for a replacement.
Choose natural materials such as leather for better support and reduced swelling. The slippers should contain arch support to reduce high amounts of pressure around the back of the foot. Only purchase slippers that match the shape of your foot to avoid the occurrence of a deformity.
Features to Look for in Therapeutic Slippers
- Flexible material such as suede, leather or canvas with adjustable closures
- Lightweight slip-ons that allow your feet to breathe
- Shock-absorbing sole that relieves pressure at the bottom of your foot
- Solid back for extra support
Slip-Ons to Avoid
- Those without arch support. Lack of it could lead to the breakdown of tissue
- Unfitting slippers. These could injure your feet
Choose footwear that fits well, not one that is too wide causing your feet to slide on the inside. Sliding could cause your feet to rub against the fabric, leading to blisters. Visit a podiatrist or an endocrinologist for a recommendation of the right footwear. You might also want to visit an orthotist for proper fitting and designing of diabetes footwear. If you can buy two pairs, all the better. Alternating between the two can preserve shock absorption. At least once a year, replace your slippers to prevent possible accumulation of microbes, bacteria, and fungus.
When you have diabetes, extra special care needs to be given to your feet. It is vital that you check your feet daily for possible problems and choose your footwear carefully. Comfortable and well-fitting diabetic slippers should help prevent minor foot problems from turning into severe wounds that could trigger amputation.