Patients with diabetes often suffer with a condition called neuropathy. This is nerve damage leading to numbness, pain, tingling, and decreased blood flow in the feet. Neuropathy can make it difficult for diabetic foot injuries to heal quickly and properly. This condition also makes it more likely that any issues a diabetic patient develops with their feet could go undetected and become worse unless they are performing regular foot checks. Diabetic foot injuries can easily turn from minor to dangerous.
Orthotics can help prevent and treat numerous diabetic foot problems by reducing pressure, friction, and moisture. Orthotics can also be used in combination with other treatments for enhanced results. For these reasons, the podiatrists at Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists strongly recommend that anyone with diabetes consider wearing orthotics every day.
Orthotics Can Help Prevent and Treat Diabetic Foot Conditions
There are many foot conditions that orthotics can help address, including some that are more common in people with diabetes:
- Ingrown toenails
- Foot ulcers
- Fungal infections
Custom Versus Over-the-Counter Orthotics
There is no denying that over-the-counter orthotics are conveniently available in many stores and are less expensive than the custom-made option. However, you often get what you pay for, and these mass-produced options are not always a bargain.
If you wear the same size shoe as another person, that does not mean you have the same medical condition or that your feet have the exact same structure or shape. When a company is manufacturing a product intended for a large number of people, there is a limit to how much variety it can offer and how many problems it can address. This means you may not get the level of relief you need from a product that was not designed with you in mind. A custom-produced orthotic is molded to your unique foot and tailored to your precise needs, which may include:
- Correcting your posture
- Evenly distributing your weight
- Adding cushion to protect your feet
- Reducing pressure
- Alleviating pain
- Addressing gait issues
- Improving stability in the feet and ankles
- Reducing the risk of injury
- Treating structural issues like supination
Custom orthotics can also be adjusted periodically by your podiatrist to ensure that if your body and feet have changed, you still have a tool that works perfectly for your needs.
Mass-produced orthotics tend to fall apart fairly quickly. They are designed to be thrown away and replaced, which is not great for the environment. Custom orthotics are created from materials that are both flexible and durable. They are more likely to last a long time, and if they are damaged, they can generally be repaired with a quick visit to the podiatrist.
Because custom orthotics may be covered by insurance, typically last so much longer than over-the-counter options (a year to five years typically), and are more likely to help prevent costly diabetic foot issues, they could end up being the less expensive option by a significant margin.
How a Texas Podiatrist Can Help
If you’re not sure if you need orthotics or which type you need, a podiatrist can examine your feet, provide an accurate diagnosis, answer your questions, and help you make informed decisions. If you are in the Austin, Texas area, the award-winning doctors at Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists can help you build a plan for keeping your feet and the rest of your body healthy. They are knowledgeable about diabetic foot care and can assist you in finding the treatments that will meet your needs in the least invasive manner possible. They can also help ensure that your orthotics are holding up, comfortable, and preventing problems as intended. They can even teach you how to tell when it is time for new ones.