If you or a family member has neuropathy, you know that it’s important to choose footwear wisely.
Neuropathy occurs when certain nerves are damaged. The peripheral nervous system, including all nerves except the spinal cord and brain, ranges over all other parts of the body. This nerve system links from the brain and spinal cord to muscles, skin, glands and the internal organs. Peripheral neuropathy can cause numbness and pain in feet and hands.
One of the most common causes of neuropathy is diabetes, but it can also be caused by metabolic disorders, traumatic injuries, infections and toxin exposure. Neuropathy impairs the sensory nerves so they don’t work well and causes loss of sensation, tingling or burning, weakness and even paralysis.
Choosing Footwear for Neuropathy
Because neuropathy causes loss of sensation in the feet, it is essential that patients with neuropathy always wear protective footwear. Even a minor injury to the feet can result in infection and ulcers if undetected. So always wear shoes or other foot coverings – never go barefoot.
Often patients with neuropathy experience damaging falls because they can’t feel the walking surface. This is especially troublesome when walking on uneven ground.
To choose the right footwear that is both protective and comfortable, step #1 is to visit Klein Foot and Ankle Specialists for a foot exam. We will discuss your neuropathy with you as well as any foot abnormalities or deformities that we observe.
Here are some tips for footwear that is both protective and comfortable:
- Shop later in the day when feet are largest and always have both feet measured professionally.
- Choose lace-up shoes made of soft, stretchy leather.
- Soles should have extra cushioning.
- Look for shoes for patients with diabetes. While not all neuropathy is caused by diabetes, shoes made for patients with diabetes offer the right protection and comfort to anyone suffering from neuropathy. Footwear should have good support and a wide, rounded toe box with plenty of room for wiggling.
- A podiatrist can prescribe therapeutic shoes. Neuropathy combined with other foot deformities may call for specially prescribed therapeutic shoes. Some of these have extra depth with custom-made inserts that redistribute pressure.
Even with neuropathy, women can still enjoy wearing high heels but only for short periods. However, those with loss of sensation in the feet accompanied by poor blood circulation or another complication like bunions or hammertoes should avoid them. And steer clear of sandals as they provide little protection and the straps between the toes may cause blistering or irritation that can go undetected.
Visit Our Practice for Comprehensive Foot Care
If you have neuropathy, Dr. Barry Klein and Dr. Debra Klein, board certified podiatrists can assess your foot health and recommend the right shoes for your condition. Our online shoe store stocks many comfortable and stylish types of footwear and other products. Call our Pine Hill office at 856-783-3366 or our Florence office at 609-499-1181 to make an appointment, or contact us via email.