Diabetes And Exercise: Tips For Buying Walking Shoes

With trees budding in the Northern states, and before hot summer temps set in further south, now is a great time to get outside and walk.

Brisk walking helps people with diabetes reduce their stress, and glucose levels, burn calories, and it provides moderate aerobic conditioning—so good for a healthy cardiovascular system.

One thing walkers need, especially those with diabetes, are shoes not too loose or tight anywhere on the foot. Well-fitting footwear protects against blisters, sores, calluses, wounds, and the infections these injuries might instigate.

Shoe Shopping Tips

The right shoes can make our walking excursions safer, more enjoyable, and energizing, so here are four things to consider when shopping for a new pair:

    Wiggle Room. Since crowded toes restrict blood circulation and irritate the skin, walking shoes need a wide and non-constrictive toe box. The shoe’s footbed should be deep and wide enough to hold cushiony inserts, and allow for some foot swelling. Adjustable closures help walkers accommodate swelling as well.

    The Right Stuff. Breathable shoe uppers help keep our feet dry, and ruin the warm, damp environment that bacteria and fungi love. To protect feet from external dangers, such as sharp objects, hard rubber soles are recommended.

    Pressure Points. Higher heels create pressure points on both the balls and heels of our feet, and pressure points can lead to calluses or ulcers. Arches that are too high also create uncomfortable pressure—something those with flat arches need to be particularly aware of. Well-padded walking shoes take pressure off our feet, and commercial or prescription inserts can increase our comfort even more.

    Guarding Against. Shoes with seamless interiors, or with lined or reversed seams, minimize friction and skin irritation. A shoe that completely covers the foot, protecting it against sidewalk debris or small stones, is especially recommended for people with reduced sensation in their feet.

Individuals with hard to control glucose levels, neuropathy, or those with a history of foot problems such as ulcers, should consider the type of protective footwear prescribed by a podiatrist.

Two More Tips

Finally shoppers, to spend wisely, and defray the cost of good walking shoes, make sure they fit the feet you have today, and check insurance your policies:

    Sizing. Shoppers should not assume their shoe size is the same as it’s always been. As they age, people with diabetes tend to get wider, and longer feet owed to flattening arches. So, don’t be surprised if former size sevens have morphed into number eight or nines. Smaller shoe sizes may tickle our vanity, but foot safety and comfort are an investment in health.

    Insurance. Individuals with diabetes, a history of foot complications, and Medicare Part B may qualify for up to 80 percent reimbursement on a pair of therapeutic shoes, plus inserts. Patients will need a physician’s recommendation for this. Those with other insurance should check their policies for therapeutic shoe coverage.

“When you have worn out your shoes, the strength of the sole leather has passed into the fiber of your body. I measure your health by the number of shoes…you have worn out. He is the richest man who pays the largest debt to his shoemaker.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Source: Chelsea Reynolds / Diabetic Living
Photo credit: MandelMedia

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