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Protecting the Diabetic Feet with Diabetic Shoes
In 2020 it was estimated that over 34 million people in the United States have diabetes, roughly 10% of the US population and that 88 million people over the age of 18 have prediabetes. Very concerning as Diabetes is a major cause of blindness, kidney failure, heart attacks, stroke, and lower limb amputation.
According to a NCBI Lower Extremity Amputation Study in 2020, “…patients with Diabetes Mellitus have an astounding 30 times greater lifetime risk of undergoing an amputation when compared to patients without diabetes mellitus, which translates to an economic strain in healthcare systems of over $4.3 billion in annual costs in the USA alone.” The risks are high for diabetic patients, and it is crucial that the medical community continues to raise awareness to diagnose and treat diabetics with medication, lifestyle changes and proper footcare.
Diabetic Shoes offer protection for the diabetic foot and can help reduce the risk of lower extremity complications. They help prevent ulcers and calluses from forming, distribute weight away from pressure points and accommodate foot deformities. In addition to the precise measuring and fitting exams each patient receives, diabetic shoes have the following special features:
· Extra depth to accommodate diabetic inserts
· Protective interiors with seamless stitching to prevent skin irritations
· Roomy toe boxes to protect toes and prevent injury
· Non-skid soles and rocker bottoms for stability and to prevent falls
· Thick, padded tongues and heel collars for extra comfort and to prevent heel slippage
· Constructed with qualify materials such as soft leather, mesh, and lycra for breathability and to accommodate patients with swelling or deformities.
· Multiple shoe widths to accommodate each patient
In 2017 for the very first time, the American Diabetes Association Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes began recommending the use of diabetic shoes in its footcare recommendation. This year’s Journal states, “The use of specialized therapeutic footwear is recommended for high-risk patient with diabetes including those with sever neuropathy, foot deformities, ulcers, callous formation, poor peripheral circulation or history of amputation.”
Podiatry is the only profession that Medicare has permitted to perform the clinical foot exam, order the diabetic shoes, and dispense them to their patients. On average, over 80% of diabetics in any given podiatry practice qualify for diabetic shoes and inserts.
The value of providing them every year to help reduce their risk of lower extremity complications should not be underestimated.
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