Foot and ankle problems usually fall into the following categories:
- Acquired from improper footwear, physical stress, or small mechanical changes within the foot.
- Arthritic foot problems, which typically involve one or more joint.
- Congenital foot problems, which occur at birth, are generally inherited.
- Infectious foot problems, which are caused by bacterial, viral, or fungal disorders.
- Neoplastic disorders, usually called tumors, which are the result of abnormal growth of tissue and may be benign or malignant.
- Traumatic foot problems, which are associated with foot and ankle injuries.
Shoes for diabetic patients are made of special protective inserts and soft shoe materials to accommodate for conditions such as neuropathy (numb feet), poor circulation, and foot deformities (bunions, hammertoes, etc.). The shoes decrease the chance of foot sores (ulcers) which can be caused by friction and pressure. This may lead to infection, gangrene, or even amputation.
The foot and ankle surgeon may measure the diabetic patient's foot and have the shoes made at a specialty laboratory. In some cases he/she will give the patient a prescription to have the shoes custom-made.
For more information on how diabetes affects your feet, listen to the Diabetes and Your Feet podcast or read more at Diabetic Complications and Amputation Prevention, Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy, Diabetic Foot Care Guidelines.