One of Medicare's major successes is the Therapeutic shoe program for Diabetics. The program allows people with diabetes to receive one pair of diabetic shoes and three pair of special insoles each calendar year. The eligibility requirements are pretty liberal: people with reduced blood flow or nerve function, those with a history of a foot ulcer, people with a previous amputation, and those with a foot deformity, such as a bunion or hammertoe. These are all risk factors for diabetics to suffer continued foot problems.
Why would Medicare engage in such a program? Isn't it extravagant to provide their members with shoes? What could their motive be? Well, lets face it....Medicare, along with all insurance companies, are not providing diabetic shoes as a nice benefit for their insured patients alone. It saves them a significant amount of money! Even so, many of my patients are prone to not want to get covered therapeutic shoes when they are recommended because they feel it is taking advantage of the system. I explain to them that they have it wrong....by NOT getting a properly fitting diabetic shoe, they are taking advantage of the system. This is especially true if they develop a complication related to diabetes.
Historically, Medicare is not big on preventative care. They realize that the cost of treating a patient with a diabetic foot ulcer is astronomical. Between wound dressings, surgery, hospitalization, home care, and rehabilitation, the costs associated with healing a foot complication of diabetes is worth the investment in prevention with a diabetic shoe. A diabetic shoe provides comprehensive protection for the diabetic foot. The shoes come in lengths and widths to provide a superior fit. There is extra-depth in the shoe, which allows it to accommodate an appropriate insole and still be able to minimize pressure on the toes.
Most importantly, a diabetic shoe uses a specialized insole that helps to redistribute pressures beneath the foot. When too much pressure accumulates beneath the foot, a callus is likely to form. While a callus can become painful for many, when your foot is numb because of diabetic peripheral neuropathy, there is no pain. This can lead to a breakdown of the skin and the formation of a diabetic foot ulcer. The use of a diabetic shoe with an insole to offload these areas, the pressure can be controlled and the chances of the development of an ulcer is greatly reduced.
If you are diabetic with risk factors for developing foot complications, do yourself and your loved ones a favor by being evaluated for diabetic footwear. Wearing the appropriate shoes is a vital part of your diabetic foot health regimen. While you may think that you don't need a diabetic shoe because you have no foot problems, think of it like insurance...it's something you hope you never need but are glad you have it if you do. For a comprehensive diabetic foot evaluation and assessment for diabetic shoes, visit Dr. Andrew Schneider in Houston, TX. We will work with you to ensure your feel last a lifetime.