Orthotics for diabetes may be different for a few reasons. People living with diabetes may have:
- delayed healing in their hands and feet
- possible loss of sensation in the feet
- with these symptoms, diabetics are more prone to having injuries that will not heal quickly
- susceptibility to infections
- possible changes in the bones of their feet which can cause friction with shoes resulting in irritation and even wounds
Many people with diabetes have reduced circulation or sensation in their feet (called neuropathy), and are not able to feel if something in their shoe or the shoe itself is irritating their foot. To avoid the development of wounds or ulcers, it is vital people living with diabetes visually examine their feet daily and, when purchasing shoes, have them professionally fitted rather than relying on how their feet ‘feel’.
Orthotics can help people living with diabetes keep their feet healthy. A custom-made foot orthotic is made specifically for the patient following an assessment of their feet and legs by a footcare expert such as a Canadian Certified Pedorthist. A custom-made foot orthotic is made from a three-dimensional model of the patient’s foot and is fabricated from raw materials. It is designed to meet the patient’s unique and specific needs.
The aim of custom orthotics for diabetics – especially those with loss of sensation and decreased circulation – is to prevent creating or worsening sores in addition to holding the foot in the correct position.
Orthotics for diabetics are generally softer than orthotics for other patients and may have a deeper shape to better hold the foot and keep the deformed areas from being irritated. Diabetic orthotics are less firm and are bulkier to provide added cushioning to the foot and provide moisture wicking and antibacterial properties to prevent infections from setting in.
To find a Canadian Certified Pedorthist near you visit www.pedorthic.ca/find-a-pedorthist.
By Jim Pattison, C. Ped (C)