Approximately 15 percent of diabetic patients will develop a diabetic foot ulcer. Proper footwear can reduce that risk.

Recent research has found wearing therapeutic footwear or insoles lessened the recurrence of diabetic foot ulcers. The research, which noted the benefits of footwear in addition to regular clinic visits, was conducted by Von Homer and Jeffrey Jensen, along with student Christina M. Pena, at the Paul and Margaret Brand Research Center at Barry University School of Podiatric Medicine.

“Patients said they noticed significant decreases in redness and blisters compared to previous years, leading us to conclude that the modifications throughout the 6-month study significantly improved how the shoes affected their feet,” Pena said.

In order to take part in this study, patients had to have non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus, qualify for the Medicare Therapeutic Shoe Program and have had a healed forefoot wound within three months of their enrollment. Participants were given a pair of therapeutic shoes and a pair of diabetic insoles and were studied for six months.

According to Current Pedorthics magazine, of the 39 participants, only one patient’s previous wound reopened. He had spent time wearing sandals instead of only wearing the therapeutic shoes. Even high-risk patients had positive results.

The participants were each given a log book and were told to record how long they wore the shoes and/or insoles, how much they walked and how comfortable their feet were. They met with Homer every 30 days so he could assess their feet and make modifications to the shoes or inserts if necessary.

Who was considered a high-risk patient?

  • Patients who had a diabetic ulcer that had healed within the three weeks before the study.
  • Patients who had a previous amputation.
  • Patients who had multiple bony prominences with ulcerative calluses.
  • Patients who had more than a year-long history of recurring ulcers.

What are some other preventative measures you can take?

According to the American Podiatric Medical Association, approximately 15 percent of diabetic patients will develop a diabetic foot ulcer. Of that 15 percent, nearly 6 percent will be hospitalized due to wound infection or complication. The best way to prevent hospitalization is to stop an ulcer from forming in the first place. People who use insulin, or have diabetes-related kidney, eye or heart disease are more at risk for developing ulcers. There are lifestyle changes, however, that diabetes patients can make to lower their risk:

  • Don’t use alcohol or tobacco.
  • Keep blood glucose levels under control.
  • Get tested for neuropathy, which is a reduced or complete lack of ability to feel pain in the feet.
  • Inspect your feet for redness and/or blisters after extended periods of standing or walking.
  • Wear comfortable shoes that don’t cause redness or blistering.

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