Majority of Diabetics Wear Wrong Shoe Sizes

More than six out of 10 diabetics choose to wear shoes that are the wrong size, increasing their risk of slow-healing foot ulcers, limb amputation and even early death, according to a recent study. The research effort, performed at the University of Dundee in Scotland and published in the International Journal of Clinical Practice, looked at 100 volunteers, 24 to 89 years of age, who were patients at Ninewells Hospital Medical School in Dundee. The researchers excluded those who were patients at specialist foot clinics and those who experienced difficulty standing or who wore specially provided shoes.

"All the patients had their feet fully examined and measured while they were both sitting and standing," said co-author Graham Leese, a consultant at the clinic, which is part of the University of Dundee. The physicians discovered that 63 percent of the patients wore ill-fitting shoes. Forty-five percent, for example, had footwear that was the wrong width, mostly too narrow. "When people stand up, their feet change shape as the arch of the foot flattens and the foot becomes wider and longer," Leese explained.

 %u201CTaking both these sets of measurements into account, only 37 percent of the patients were actually wearing the right-sized shoes. "Interestingly, patients who didn't have problems with lack of feeling in their feet - a common problem with diabetes - were just as likely to wear badly fitting shoes as those who did.

Surprisingly, 22 percent of the volunteers never checked their own feet, and only 29 percent checked them daily - despite the fact that 45 percent of the patients had experienced past problems with their feet, including ulcers, calluses, bunions, corns or swelling. The researchers suggest that, to address this overall problem, shoe manufacturers should expand the range of shoe lengths and widths they offer, and that shoe stores should routinely offer foot-measuring services.


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