Advances in peripheral neuropathy footwear are doing a lot to help ease some of the discomfort associated with this condition. There are many stores that specialize in comfort footwear today, and modern assistive shoes often don't even look like traditional orthopedic styles, allowing a variety of choices that still meet your needs.
The Need for Peripheral Neuropathy Footwear
According to PubMed Health, peripheral neuropathy indicates the progressive muscle weakness in the feet, lower legs, hands and forearms. There will also be some loss of sensation in the toes, feet and fingers. This is what makes the disease so dangerous, and diabetics or AIDS sufferers so prone to the need for amputation - when the neuropathy is advanced, you can't feel when you are putting too much pressure on the foot. That can create an ulcer, but the diabetic will not feel the pain, thus worsening the condition. When diabetes or AIDS are present, you have to be acutely proactive about your body and assess your feet regularly for signs of distress.
What They Should Provide
As you embark on your search for the proper footwear that will be equally comfortable and appropriate for your condition, there are a few style characteristics you should look for to make things easier.
- Wearing the right shoes helps a great deal. Look for shoes that accommodate swelling, are seamless, soft and supportive and allow for custom inserts, should that extra support be necessary.
- If you don't yet need specific peripheral neuropathy footwear, you still must wear the right shoes for your condition and to ensure that no other complications arise.
- Choose have shoes with a high, wide toe box (you must be able to wiggle your toes), soles designed to reduce pressure on the ball of the foot, and firm heel counters.
- Orthopedic shoes are often designed with Plastazote, a foam that can accommodate pressure by conforming to heat. It customizes to the foot, thus giving extra protection, although of course you should still be checking your feet for any irregularities.
Choices in Protective Footwear
The good news is that if your peripheral neuropathy is caught early, you can continue to wear non-orthotic shoes so long as you maintain good foot health. Shoes by reputable designers such as Crocs, Eneslow, New Balance, Pedors and Hush Puppies will all be supportive and are made to fit a foot exactly. You can also consult with your doctor as to other shoes you might be interested in.
Fortunately, there are more stores for this foot condition than in the past, making shopping convenient and thorough. Take a look at a few standouts:
When you need something a bit more custom designed for your foot problems, try specialized shops such as Eneslow. They have storefronts but you can also shop online and contact them with particular needs. In addition to selling inserts and assistive devices, they can custom-make shoes to order. If you're someone who's been a real shoe-lover, this can be a great way to get something that is still expressive but takes care of your feet. They also have a list of suggested footwear for diabetic feet available at their store.
Pedors has orthopedic shoes for men, women and children. Most of them do look like orthopedics, but the classic Mary Janes manage to be fairly innocuous, and there are clogs and loafers that won't attract negative attention.
Healthy Shoe Store
The Healthy Shoe Store has shoes designed for those that suffer from a myriad of foot and leg conditions. They have a nice selection of New Balance and Aetrex sneakers as well as Orthofeet and Comfortrite shoes. They also stock several types of shoes insoles and foot supports, which provide overall shoe comfort and stability for sufferers of peripheral neuropathy. The shoes they offer are mostly in neutral colors like black, white and tan. The shoes at the Healthy Shoe Store are also a little pricier, as the most expensive style is around $230
FootSmart is a store that is focused on comfort footwear for a variety of conditions. They offer men's and women's styles from narrow to extra wide. They offer dozens of styles in athletic, casual, and dress footwear for diabetic neuropathy. Brands such as Orthofeet, Propet, and New Balance are available.
Drew Shoes is also focused on comfort footwear, and you can shop men's and women's styles according to condition. The store carries the seal of the Pedorthic Footwear Assocation. They carry therapeutic shoes that contain Medical Heel Stabilizers, wide steel shanks and polyurethane slip-resistant outsoles. There are several styles for those with diabetes and other foot afflictions such as: Tulip, Orchid, Victor, Journey, Lotus, Victoria and Blazer.
Appropriate Shoe Styles
If you're still a little unsure about what types of shoes are best, here are a few styles that can be found at most department stores and online shopping sites:
- Hush Puppies Power Walker - Popular walking shoes that feature moisture-wicking Dri-lex linings, removable molded footbed and patented Bounce technology for maximum comfort and shock absorption.
- Crocs Ultimate Cloud - Designed specifically for the diabetic foot, this shoe offers supreme comfort, toecap and heel cup for added protection, enhanced arch support, and ventilation to keep feet cool and dry.
- New Balance WX623 - A diabetic sneaker that provides superior shock absorption and Comfort collar features anatomically positioned foam pads that lock-in the heel and cushion around the ankle.
Styles Have Changed
Overall, selections for shoes designed to support troubled feet have improved dramatically, better guaranteeing that, though you have peripheral neuropathy, you don't have to suffer. Once you find a select style or brand that you like, you'll soon realize that it's not such an inconvenience after all.