From regular blood testing and eyesight checks to daily medication or injections, living with diabetes means having to think about many different areas of your health, including your feet. Here’s a brief guide to understanding foot complications with diabetes and how Horton’s Orthotics & Prosthetics can help you on your journey to better health with diabetic inserts in Arkansas.
Diabetes and foot complications
The high sugar levels associated with diabetes can cause damage to your nerves. The nerves in your body’s peripheries are often affected first, and this includes those supplying the feet. Diabetic nerve damage, or neuropathy, can reduce your sensation of pain and temperature. In severe neuropathy, you may not notice if your shoes are causing a blister or if you’ve stepped into a bath that’s too hot.
This lack of sensation can cause severe damage. However, diabetic footwear can help prevent the risk of foot damage when you walk. As neuropathy can also change the shape of your feet, off-the-shelf shoes may not work well for you. You may need to consider getting shoes that are custom made for diabetics, or custom-made diabetic insoles.
Blood vessel damage
Your blood vessels can also become damaged by high sugar levels. Poor foot circulation means that the tissues may not receive as much oxygen. It also means that waste products are more likely to build up. Moreover, fewer of the infection-fighting blood cells are able to reach the peripheries.
If you develop a blister or ulcer on your foot or heel you may be less able to fight off a subsequent skin infection. Preventing an infection by any means necessary is far better than trying to cure a skin infection.
If your feet feel cold to the touch, it can be tempting to warm them. Unfortunately, if your sensation is already reduced, this may lead to burns. The best way to keep your feet warm is to wear thick, soft socks. This will help your body retain any heat without damaging your skin or the underlying tissues.
Diabetes is the leading cause of lower extremity amputations in the United States. In fact, around 60% of non-injury-related amputations were as a result of diabetes. Most of these were also partial foot amputations. Along with good management of your blood sugar levels and not smoking, making sure that your foot is physically well cared for with custom footwear or diabetic shoe inserts can help to reduce your risk of amputation.
Types of diabetic inserts
Over time, you may notice the shape of your foot changing. This is because diabetics are also at risk of having dry skin that can crack. There’s also the risk of developing calluses, corns, or bunions. These signs can be subtle in the early stages, so it’s important to inspect your feet every day to notice notice any foot abnormalities.
Diabetic shoe insoles, or a custom-made shoe, will be moulded to the exact shape of your foot. This is to give extra support where you need it and to ensure that there’s no pressure placed on delicate areas, which could cause a callous or ulcer.
The professionals at Horton’s Orthotics & Prosthetics understand that wearing the correct footwear is vital to staying mobile and avoiding foot ulceration. An experienced pedorthotist will take a foot impression and detailed measurements to ensure that your shoe or insert will fit you perfectly.
From custom-moulded diabetic insoles to extra depth shoes and rocker sole modifications, specialized footwear is fabricated to your exact requirements. At your fitting appointment, your pedorthotist will check that the shoe or insert fits you correctly for the best foot health.
The results speak for themselves: Proper pedorthic treatment can reduce the risk of extremity amputation by up to 80%. This reason for this success rate is two-fold. First, properly fitted footwear that reduces the risk of ulcers. And second, it helps ulcers heal.
Once you have your footwear or insoles, it’s important to inspect your feet daily for any changes or signs of damage that may otherwise go unnoticed.
Does Medicare cover diabetic shoes and inserts?
Depending on your insurance plan and the diagnosis on your prescription your physician prescribes, Horton’s Orthotics and Prosthetics can help advise you on your options of custom shoes, diabetic inserts, socks, and accessories to help you take care of your feet. The staff will review with you exactly how much you’re covered for based on the type of Medicare or other health insurance you have. Medicare Part B, for example, covers a range of diabetic footwear if you qualify for coverage. It also includes the fitting and furnishing of custom-made shoes as well as two new pairs of inserts each year.
Taking advantage of your insurance is a great way to make sure that you’re always wearing footwear that’s in good condition. It also means adjustments can be made to accommodate any physical changes to your feet.
And even if your insurance doesn’t quite cover the full cost, or your deductible has not been met, the patient is responsible for the difference in cost. You may be pleasantly surprised at the minimal out-of-pocket expenses. This is especially true, as this investment helps increase your comfort and helps reduce your risk of diabetic amputation.
For more information
The right diabetic inserts or orthotics can be transformative in your journey to better health. At Horton’s Orthotics & Prosthetics, we’re on this journey with you, and we’ll provide a lifetime of support and expertise along the way. Contact us today at (501) 214-4191, or submit this form to request an appointment.