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When There’s Water, Check the Shoes

Aug 23, 2016

People who have diabetes are usually taught to purchase protective soft leather shoes with a wide toe box. That doesn’t mean everybody who has diabetes follows those recommendations.

A woman, type 2 diabetes, who is knowledgeable about diabetes and foot complications was wearing cloth shoes with a “corded” bottom and manmade rubber sole. She was caught in the rain. Her shoes were soaked. When she got home she let them dry out. Later when she put them back on they were tight. At first she thought she may have some lower extremity edema, but then realized her shoes must have shrunk from being wet and drying out. She started to wear them, thinking they would stretch out. She then felt pressure on the sole of her left foot. She remembered all the stories she had heard about people with diabetes who have peripheral neuropathy, can’t feel when shoes don’t fit right, and ultimately develop a sore which can get infected and for too many end up needing an amputation. She realized how lucky she was to have sensation and even pain to protect her from this happening…that is, if she listened to those signs. Although it would make her late, she immediately went home and changed her shoes. Disaster Averted.


Lessons Learned:

  • Teach diabetes foot care, which includes prevention, to all patients who have diabetes.
  • Teach that just because shoes once fit well does not mean they always will.
  • Teach that if you feel something, you should listen to what that feeling is telling you. It could be saying, “Change your shoes.”
  • Teach that if you can’t feel…see podiatrist!

If you have a “Diabetes Disaster Averted” story, please let us know! If we feature your Disaster Averted in our Diabetes Clinical Mastery Series e-newsletter, you will receive a $25 gift card. Please click here to submit a short summary of the incident, what you feel you learned from handling the incident, and your name and title. If you prefer to remain anonymous, please let us know, but still give us your name and address (so we can send you the gift card).

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