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September 13, 2019: What steps can I take to get a good foot measurement when buying shoes?

Many people have one foot that’s larger than the other, so have both feet measured. Also be sure to stand naturally with your weight divided evenly between both feet.

Learn more about choosing footwear here.

September 12, 2019: What features should I look for in a custom shoe insert?

Any custom insert you buy should have at least three layers — a soft layer of foam on top and two stiffer layers on the bottom to provide some resilience.

Learn more about choosing footwear here.

September 11, 2019: Are there any types of shoe I should avoid?

Yes. It is a good idea to avoid high heels, as they put increased pressure on the ball of the foot, place the back of the foot in an unstable position, and increase the movement of foot tissues in opposite directions, a primary cause of calluses, blisters, and ulcers. (Heels should be less than one inch in height.) It is also a good idea to avoid slip-on loafers, which provide inadequate foot support, and sandals with straps between the toes, which can cause irritation.

Learn more about choosing footwear here.

September 10, 2019: Are there any steps I can take to avoid getting blisters on my feet?

Always wear socks with shoes to prevent blisters. Wear socks that fit well (tight socks impair circulation) and are seamless (to prevent blisters). Socks should be made of breathable material such as cotton or wool, ideally blended with a material that draws moisture away from the skin, such as acrylic.

Learn more about caring for your feet here.

September 9, 2019: I have difficulty finding off-the-shelf shoes that fit properly because of a foot deformity. Are there any other options?

People with lack of sensation in the feet, other changes in the feet caused by diabetes, or a history of foot ulcers may be candidates for orthotics, or specially designed insoles that are worn inside the shoes. If orthotics don’t do the trick, it may be necessary to get custom-made shoes. To qualify for depth-inlay shoes, custom-molded shoes, or shoe inserts under Medicare Part B, your physician must certify that you have diabetes and are being treated, that you need the insert or shoe because you have diabetes, and that you have a condition such as an amputation, foot ulcers, calluses, poor circulation, or foot deformity.

Learn more about caring for your feet here.

September 8, 2019: What are some rules of thumb for purchasing new shoes?

You should have your feet measured every time you buy shoes because feet change in size and shape over time. Also, it’s better to be fitted for shoes in the afternoon or evening rather than first thing in the morning — walking around all day causes your feet to spread, so getting fitted when your feet are at their largest can help you to ensure a comfortable fit.

Learn more about choosing footwear here.

September 7, 2019: My new shoes are a bit tight around the toes. Is this problematic?

Many foot ulcers start with rubbing from ill-fitting shoes, so it’s important that your shoes fit well and don’t cause any abnormal pressure on your feet.

Learn more about choosing footwear here.

September 6, 2019: Does smoking have any effect on the health of my feet?

Yes — if you smoke, your risk for foot problems increases. Lowering your risk, obviously, involves quitting. Several options are available to assist with smoking cessation such as individual or group counseling and use of nicotine products or certain prescription medicines.

Learn more about caring for your feet here and quitting smoking here.

September 5, 2019: How often should my doctor conduct a foot examination?

Your doctor should examine your feet at least once a year to check for the presence of foot problems and to assess your risk of developing problems in the future. If you have neuropathy or peripheral arterial disease, your feet should be carefully inspected at every office visit. To make sure your doctor checks your feet at each checkup, take off your shoes and socks before your doctor comes into the room.

Learn more about caring for your feet here.

September 4, 2019: I have an uncomfortable case of athlete’s foot. Can I treat it with an over-the-counter cream?

People with diabetes can safely use over-the-counter athlete’s foot creams, and all athlete’s foot creams are equally effective. To use an athlete’s foot cream, wash your feet and dry well between your toes and on the bottoms of your feet. Rub the medicated cream in twice a day. If you see no improvement in five days, call your podiatrist. It might not be an athlete’s foot fungus after all.

Learn more about caring for your feet here.