Berks Medical Equipment Offers New Service, Diabetic Shoe Fitting
For most people, an ingrown toenail or small cut on the foot is nothing to be alarmed about. For a diabetic patient, however, a cut or ingrown nail can be the beginning of a much greater problem.
Proper foot care is extremely important to diabetic patients, who are more prone than non-diabetics to develop calluses, dry skin and foot ulcers due to damaged nerves or poor circulation.
Diabetic patients also have a much greater risk than non-diabetics of requiring a foot or leg amputation.
Penn State Health St. Joseph’s Berks Medical Equipment now offers the services of a licensed fitter to assist diabetic patients with getting a specially fitted shoe that will protect their feet while providing comfort and stability.
Stefanie Orender received training and was licensed in May to fit diabetic patients with shoes that feature insoles that are specially molded to their feet. The shoes are deeper and wider than regular shoes, she explained, and the specially fitted insole assures that no part of the shoe will rub against the foot, which could cause skin to become irritated or opened.
“Diabetic patients have to be extra careful with their feet, and be sure to find shoes that fit them correctly,” Orender explained. “If a shoe causes a sore to develop on the foot, it can take a really long time to heal and can cause a lot of other problems.”
The insoles are customized by heating them until they are pliable, and then molding them around a patient’s foot. That assures the most comfortable and stable fit, Orender said.
In addition to fitting shoes, Orender is qualified to check patients’ feet for problems and advise them regarding the care of their feet.
“It’s really nice to be able to help people learn how to care for their feet, and to try to help ease any pain they might have,” she said.
In addition to fitting shoes for customers at Berks Medical Equipment’s Tuckerton store, Orender also works two days a month with Dr. Jeffrey Stringer, a podiatrist, at St. Joseph’s Community Campus in Reading.
“There are a lot of people who could benefit from this service,” she said. “It’s just so important for diabetic patients to have shoes that fit them properly and that can protect their feet.”
Shoes that are prescribed by a doctor often are covered by Medicare or other insurances.
Non-diabetics who have trouble with their feet, such as bunions or hammertoes, also may benefit from the special shoes because they are roomier inside, noted Orender.
In addition to special shoes for people who have problems with their feet, Berks Medical Equipment carries neck, back, knee and ankle braces; foot care products such as toe spaces, toe and heel pads; walkers and accessories; compression stockings; wheelchairs; oxygen; power chairs, nebulizers, hospital beds and many other medical items.
Berks Medical Equipment has been serving Berks and surrounding counties for more than 20 years, according to Mim Lambros, Director of Materials Management for Penn State Health St. Joseph.
The shoe fitting service is offered to customers throughout the business’ service area.
“We know that there’s a need for this service locally, and hopefully we’re going to get this message out in the Hershey and Lancaster area, as well,” Lambros said.