Did you know that diabetic shoes don’t have to be ugly and expensive? There are actually a surprising number of attractive, diabetic shoes to choose from nowadays and the majority of them are covered by Medicare, Medicaid and other insurance. There’s just one twist to contend with. Many insurance companies won’t cover the cost of diabetic shoes unless they were ordered by a licensed podiatrist and purchased through a durable medical equipment company. In some cases, the footwear must meet certain guidelines and be professionally fitted too.
So, which diabetic shoes do podiatrists order for their patients? It largely depends on the condition of the patient’s feet and how they live their lives. However, the majority of diabetic footwear has what’s known as extra depth. The extra depth is there to cushion the feet, thereby preventing pressure ulcers. Most of the shoes also feature wide widths, Velcro closures, removable orthotics, custom inserts and smooth surfaces to help relieve pressure on all areas of the person’s feet. The diabetic shoes may be worn with therapeutic stockings or socks designed to improve circulation and reduce incidents of pitting edema, both of which are common symptoms in diabetic populations.
As far as the styles go, don’t expect podiatrists to order their patients pairs of stiletto heels or cheap flip-flops. Dress shoes are available but they generally take the form of flats or boots with thick soles. Modified wedge shoes, sneakers, running shoes and other sporty footwear are available. In some instances, it may be possible to purchase modified sandals. The modified sandals are typically attached to the feet using Velcro closures. The toe areas are open and you won’t find Y-shaped toe straps on any of them. Why? The Y-shaped straps have a tendency to cut into the toe and cause pressure ulcers or chafing. To learn more about diabetic shoes and find the right pairs for your feet, please speak with a Des Peres podiatrist.
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