Many physicians recommend that patients purchase shoes specifically designed to meet the unique needs of diabetic patients. Diabetics are at an extremely increased risk of developing serious foot disorders. Foot problems and even common diabetic complications can lead to hospitalizations, amputation or other problems. Foot ulcers can be caused by improperly fitted shoe gear that can result in an infection and/or possible amputation. To prevent injury to susceptible and sensitive feet and toes the shoe's toe box should be high and durable. The shoe should be lightweight and preferably seamless to prevent any irritation like calluses, infection or blisters, which left untreated, could develop into more serious problems.
Why Buy a Diabetic Shoe?
Proper foot care is an important part of a comprehensive diabetic management program. Foot problems are the most common diabetic complication leading to hospitalizations. Ulcers or sores on the can be caused or further irritated by improperly fitted shoe gear that can result in infection and possible amputations.
Studies confirm that well-fitted diabetic shoes with moldable insoles reduce the development of diabetic ulcers and sores. By wearing properly fitted shoes, it is possible to avoid foot complications later down the road and also allow you to maintain an active and independent lifestyle.
Who is at increased Risk for Developing Diabetic Complications?
- Diabetics with Nerve Damage: Neuropathy can cause a loss of feeling in your feet. When this occurs, you lose the ability to feel when your feet have been injured. You can injure yourself and not even be aware of the injury until you notice blood on your sock. An infected foot ulcer may develop if left untreated.
- Poor Circulation: Diabetic patients often have arteries that have become rigid and blocked, and fail to bring adequate blood, oxygen, nutrients and medications to injured areas of the body. This can also greatly delay healing.
- Higher Risk of Infections: When blood sugar frequently goes above 250, your white blood cells, which are the body's infection fighter, become sluggish and less able to prevent or control infections.
Medicare Therapeutic Shoe Program
Medicare seems to realize the need to reduce the incidence of diabetic foot complications resulting in hospitalization stays. In an effort to prevent foot ulcers in people with diabetes who are at risk, Medicare will help pay the costs of therapeutic shoes if you have qualifying diagnosis. For those who qualify, Medicare will pay 80% of the allowed for one pair of shoes and up to three pairs of molded innersoles per year. (The allowed amount varies depending on the kind of footwear your doctor prescribes). Some secondary insurers will help pay the other 20%. However, YOU should contact your insurance company to determine if your particular policy covers diabetic shoes. All plans are different and coverage depends on what type of policy you have.
If you have private insurance other than Medicare, it will be necessary to contact the benefits department of your insurance company to determine if your policy covers diabetic shoes.
Who Qualifies for Diabetic Shoes?
To qualify, you must be under a comprehensive treatment plan and have one or more of the following:
- History of partial or complete amputation of the foot
- History of previous foot ulceration
- History of pre-ulcerative callus
- Peripheral neuropathy with evidence of callus formation
- Foot deformity
- Poor circulation