In other articles on this blog we’ve discussed the features that make special shoes especially beneficial for diabetics (see “What Are Diabetic Shoes”). It’s important to understand that to get the full benefit diabetic shoes offer, consumers should consider wearing them together with diabetic socks and/or diabetic shoe inserts.
Diabetic socks are loosely knit with ample elasticity especially in the areas that cover the ankle and calf. The soles often have extra cushioning. Diabetic socks have as few seams as possible and what seams there are should be nearly imperceptible. Their open knit allows the skin to breathe and most diabetic socks have moisture-wicking properties to help keep the foot dry. All these features help reduce the risk of chafing and promote proper circulation – very important for diabetics suffering from foot neuropathy. A rough seam in a sock has the potential to cause blisters or abrasions that could go unnoticed by a diabetic wearer. If such abrasion continued over the course of a long day the result could be a very serious injury. Diabetics also commonly suffer from poor circulation in the feet which can make it more difficult to fight infection. The loose, non-binding fit of diabetic socks helps promote proper circulation.
Diabetic Inserts provide better support and protection for diabetic feet than the inserts typically offered as “standard equipment” in shoes today. To be defined as “Diabetic” a shoe insert must have a layer of moldable material. The material of choice used by many manufacturers is called “Plastizote®”. With the application of heat this material can be molded to match the contours of the bottom of the wearer’s foot. By matching the foot’s contours, the insert ensures a more even distribution of pressure across the entire surface of the foot. This reduces or eliminates high-pressure points which could develop around prominent bones or deformities. Matching the foot’s contours also allows the insert to minimize shearing or the sliding of the foot inside the shoe. Such shearing could abrade the foot and cause serious injury. The best diabetic inserts include a second layer of firmer, non-user-moldable foam that helps stabilize ad support the foot. Medicare has established other guidelines for thickness and hardness of diabetic inserts. Inserts approved as diabetic inserts are coded as “A5512” for reimbursement by Medicare for qualified patients. Studies have shown that the risk of injury to the bottom of a diabetic’s feet can be significantly reduced by using diabetic inserts.
It’s clear that the benefits of wearing diabetic shoes are enhanced by the use of diabetic socks and diabetic inserts. Each component offers specific benefits, but when combined and worn together as a three-part wellness system they perform even better.


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