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Foot care commandments 2 and 3. What (and NOT) to wear on your feet

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THIS week we will combine two topics into one talk because they have to do with what you put on your feet.

Commandment 2: Wear socks or shoes at all times while standing or walking.

Listen, I know very well how wonderful it can feel to wiggle your toes in the breeze and go barefoot on the cool floor tiles. HOWEVER, when you have diabetes this is just asking for trouble.{{more}} For many diabetics, the sensation on the bottom of your feet is simply not as good as it should be, and that means you can get stuck, cut, and bruised with all kinds of things without knowing it. I cannot tell you some of the sad accidents I have seen. One of the strangest I know of: a friend in the surgery department told me about a man who kept coming into the office with stones falling out of his feet. This gentleman had a habit of walking on the hot beach sand without wearing shoes. He was too numb on his feet to realize he was getting burned, and then with the sores and breaks in the skin he then got sand and little stones stuck in his feet. The message is simple: WEAR SHOES when walking around, even inside your own house, please. Which brings us to …

Commandment 3: Do not wear slippers (gunslingers), ill-fitting tight shoes or too-tight socks.

Again, I know that when it is hot the last thing you want to put on is a closed in shoe. Some of us want to jam on the tight shoes we own because they look great, never mind the bruises/blisters they leave on feet afterwards. Socks are great, but if you have big indentation marks on your legs when you take them off then they are too tight. Why am I being so persistent and picky about this issue? Again, diabetic feet are special. They are prone to damage and do not heal as easily as a non-diabetic foot. Believe me, I am not exaggerating: what starts out as a small bruise from where your shoe rubbed or where your sock was to tight, can turn into a big infection or worse. Why are gunslingers/slippers bad? Take a look at them: where do they rub against your skin? Right between the toes, which is the last place anybody looks for infection or bruising. Many, many people have had infections start from small bruises in between their toes, left there by simple slippers. Any shoe that hurts, causes blisters, bruises or your toes to cross in funny ways-please get rid of it!

Can you wear socks? Yes, but make sure they are not too tight. Can you wear sandals? Yes, but make sure they are not too tight, rubbing along the skin to cause breaks, they should not have one toe sticking out and there should be enough room in the shoe for you to wiggle your toes. I admit that many shoes that are great for diabetics are not the most fashionable shoes in the world. BUT, even as a non-diabetic I have learned my lesson about sacrificing healthy feet for shoes that are “nice.” Your feet take you everywhere, so please treat them well.

Until next week, stay safe and healthy Vincies!

Anita Ramsetty, MD [email protected]
Medical Director Endocrine Care Group
Tel: 843-798-4227