Objective: To describe footwear preferences of people with diabetes and a history of foot ulcer from two large western Washington State healthcare organizations.
Methods: As part of a clinical trial of footwear, self-reported information on footwear preferences, use, and cost were obtained from persons with diabetes and a prior healed foot ulcer for the year before their study enrollment. All participants' shoes were allocated into optimal, adequate, and dangerous categories based on design, structural and safety features, and materials.
Results: The 309 males and 91 females in this study averaged 62 years of age. At baseline, men owned an average of 6 (+3) pairs of shoes, with an average purchase price of $56, while women owned an average of 8 (+5) pairs, with an average purchase price of $42. Women spent an average of 51% of their time in shoes in dangerous shoes compared to men who spent 27% of their time. Men and women spent nearly 30% of their time while out of bed in slippers, stockings, and barefoot.
Conclusions: People with a history of diabetes and foot ulcers needed several styles of safe and attractive shoes for regular activities. Healthcare professionals can provide patients with information on good footwear choices to help them select adequate shoes while avoiding dangerous shoes. This approach is more realistic than trying to move all people with prior foot risk factors or ulcers into uniformly optimal footwear, since recent evidence does not support this practice.