Diabetes Lifestyle: What’s on Your Feet?

In everyday life, fashion is the key to what influences our daily lifestyle attire. It sparks how we see ourselves, how we look, and how we feel. Shoes are a big part of our style! It's like slipping your feet into a fresh pair of Jordans for the first day of school. What we lace up or slip on our feet carries those same feelings. How do we find the right shoes for us, especially since foot care is a big part of type 2 diabetes management?

Why are we talking about shoes?

As a fairly "new-ish" person with diabetes, I didn’t realize how important a good pair of shoes is to my wellbeing. I didn’t understand the nature of having good rubber under my toes. Here are some reasons why I realized shoes were an important part of caring for my feet, and how to bring your own style into foot care.

Comfortable shoes keep you moving without pain

See, as I was going through my learning phase, it never occurred that the more comfortable the shoe, the more you will be willing to get up and move around. It’s a subconscious thing. Exercising was a challenge at first because my feet would hurt. Being a diabetic, it is very important to keep moving and keeping the blood pumping. I never put any real thought into what was on my feet. So, I would buy just random shoes that either appealed to my fashion sense or was just simply affordable.

Good shoes for you don't have to be expensive

Now let me say this, paying more doesn’t necessarily mean "better" as a cheaper pair of shoes doesn’t really mean "low quality." It’s really about how your feet feel in a shoe, in regards to comfort, and the right fit. You can find affordable shoes with good rubber and a supportive sole and expensive shoes with stiff and hard soles. The end result is this: the more comfortable you are, the more you are willing to move.

Paying attention to your feet is important

As a media photo-journalist running up and down the field covering the Houston Dynamo and Houston Texans, having shoes that are comfortable is a MUST. I tried out a plethora of brands before finding my current shoe. A lot does go into a shoe such as your foot structure, having an arch, or having a narrow or wide width stance. When I spoke with my diabetes education specialist, she told me reasons why it's important to keep an eye on your feet:

  • Our feet are our bodies' support for motion
  • Neuropathy may set in, so protecting feet from cuts is VERY important

Neuropathy with type 2 diabetes

Unmanaged diabetes can affect our hands and feet. If you have never suffered from neuropathy, consider yourself lucky. Wearing shoes for us is the pinnacle in keeping our feet safe from cuts and scrapes that can go unnoticed due to numbness from neuropathy. Those cuts and scrapes can become infected and fail to heal. The numbness or tingling feeling you get in your feet can put a halt to your momentum.

Ultimately, it can cause you to put a strain on your lower legs due to adjusting how you walk to avoid the pain.  And that’s if you even have the energy to want to walk and move, and that’s not good. Moving or simply walking works wonders for us and you don’t want anything discouraging that. A good sole and insert from a properly fitted shoe will help to promote movement.

How to find shoes that match your style and comfort

Let me preface this with that, this is not an endorsement! There are some common shoe brands like Nike, Air Jordan, Avia, Adidas, and Reebok. You may find success with the brands I mentioned, but there are many more out there. The key is finding the right shoe for you. Finding a shoe that fits your style, comfort level, and foot structure is important. Being able to walk, run and enjoy everyday life shouldn’t be stopped by shoes that cause pain in your feet. And that’s what my Reeboks did for me. You will see that most brands appeal to active, work, and casual lifestyles to fit most needs.

My advice to keep your feet happy

Alongside providing protection for your feet, a good pair of kicks can provide extreme comfort for any lifestyle. Before you buy another shoe for work, exercising, or casual life, go get fitted to find a good pair of shoes. Take the time to have your feet looked at and get measured for a shoe that best fits your foot. There are plenty of brands out there to fit your fashion and style. There is no need to be walking in pain, that will stop you from moving and staying active.

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