7 Smart Tips for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and other Holidays with Diabetes

It can be challenging to manage diabetes during holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. Special meals, often hosted by people with little understanding of diabetes management, are plentiful this time of year. On top of that, parties and visits often involve a lot of traveling, and packed schedules are not uncommon.

Getting through the holidays with diabetes often requires a fair amount of preparation and thoughtfulness. Here are some great tips to help you in the pursuit of a fun and happy holiday season.

1) Set a portable alarm, such as one on a mobile phone, as a reminder for important medications and blood sugar testing.

Busy and changing schedules can make it challenging to remember medication or blood sugar checks. One way to avoid this is to set an alarm on a mobile phone or other portable device. This added reminder will make it easier to maintain important scheduled activities on the go.

2) Better yet, automate blood sugar testing with a Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM).

CGMs can be extremely helpful during the holiday season because they automate blood sugar testing. CGMs are discreetly inserted under the skin and take regular glucose measurements on an ongoing basis. Since they alert the user to high and low glucose, they can be extremely handy for people on the go or who may be eating a bit differently during the holidays.

CGMs are covered by Medicare for qualifying patients – click here for more information about ordering this helpful tool.

3) Plan ahead for how many sweets and treats you will consume.

Getting to a party without a plan can often end in overindulgence. Be specific about what you are willing to “budget” for each holiday event – whether it’s a slice of grandma’s pie, a couple of chocolate goodies, or simply being conscientious of portion control. Those who are traveling to holiday parties with a close loved one, like a spouse or child, can share these “budgets” with their companion in order to better commit to the plan.

4) Offer to be the designated driver.

driving with neuropathy how toAlcohol is high in sugar and often plentiful at holiday parties. Once again, people with diabetes should plan ahead to clarify how much they can drink within their management plan. Those who wish to steer clear altogether can offer to drive others to and from a holiday party. This will be a help to others, as well as making it easier to explain why one is not drinking should they be asked.

5) Use a napkin instead of a plate when picking up appetizers.

Appetizers can sometimes be harder to manage than seated meals. It is easy to “lose track” of how much one has eaten while grazing on platters of meat, cheese, and goodies.

One way to ensure smaller portion sizes is to gather favorite snacks (especially vegetables!) on a napkin. This will ensure smaller portions compared to piling food a plate, while still giving people with diabetes the ability to carefully select, gather, and track items.

6) Contribute a dish to shared holiday meals.

One of the biggest challenges for diabetes during the holidays is the mystery of how meals are prepared. How much sugar, butter, and oil is in this dish, exactly?

While some families are not offended by the questioning, others might find it a faux pas to grill the host about their cooking methods. In these cases, people with diabetes can protect their health by contributing a healthy dish to the occasion.  This ensures that there will be something on the table they can eat if the menu appears to be out of line with the diabetes management plan.

7) Wear the right shoes when going out.

Foot injuries can lead to serious complications and even loss of limb in people with diabetes. This is why Medicare covers a pair of diabetic shoes and 3 sets of inserts for qualifying patients each year (click here for more information).

Wearing the right shoes is important during the holidays. You never know who might have a loose step, icy driveway or uneven floor. Additionally, standing to chat or walking between events will often be expected.

Whether you need winter-friendly boots or a nice pair of dress shoes for a church event, it’s a good idea to make sure a therapeutic pair is in the closet to match each occasion.

 

Deadline to Order Diabetic Shoes within Medicare’s “Calendar Year” is Weeks Away!

Important reminder:  Qualifying people with diabetes only have a few weeks left to order shoes for Medicare/insurance coverage within the 2018 calendar year. Click here or call 1-866-923-2423 to fill out an application for coverage today.

What does “calendar year” mean in Medicare or insurance terminology?

When someone orders diabetic shoes covered by Medicare or insurance, they may see the term “CY” or “Calendar Year” listed beside the coverage (see below image). But, what does that really mean?

medicare calendar year

 

In insurance and Medicare terminology, “calendar year” applies to the period between January and December of any given year. That means a covered individual can order one pair of shoes and three sets of inserts at any time in 2018, then again anytime in 2019, and again in 2020…any month within each year, as long as a doctor deems them medically necessary.

This is slightly different than having shoes covered once every 12 months because it is less restrictive – a claimant does not necessarily have to wait 12 months to get their next pair, so long as they are in the next calendar year. For example, a person could order a pair of diabetic shoes in November 2018, then get another pair in March 2019, and get their next pair in January 2020. This provides some freedom for people order shoes when they need them, rather than having to make them last for 12 months each time. This is a good thing, because diabetics should wear their therapeutic  shoes and inserts every day and may want new ones sooner than expected!

Don’t leave a diabetic shoe order to the last minute – order before the end of November!

Many people choose to order their diabetic shoes from nocostshoes.com at the end of the year. This can be strategic – those who get shoes in October or November have to wait less time to order their next pair of Medicare-covered shoes, since their coverage restarts again in January. Other times, it’s less about strategy and more the result of forgetting or putting off ordering until the end of the year.

Whatever the reason, waiting until October or November to place an order is a common choice, but ordering any later than that may place the order in the next calendar year. Why? Because there are several steps required to obtain Medicare coverage, all of which need to be completed within the calendar year (in this case, 2018) in order to finalize the claim.

For those who place an order for shoes after mid-December will have their order shipped and billed in January. As a result, their final Medicare claim will fall under the following calendar year.

Tips for remembering to order diabetic shoes

remembering diabetic shoe appointmentRemembering to order diabetic shoes during each calendar year isn’t just a smart choice financially – it is also critical for health and well-being. But, how can qualifying diabetic Americans remember to order a pair each year? Here are some of the things our customers do to keep this coverage top-of-mind:

  • Book regular appointments with a family doctor and ask them to make a note of the need for shoes each year. To access diabetic shoes covered by Medicare and/or insurance, people with diabetes need paperwork filled out by their doctors. That’s why many people who need diabetic shoes ask their family doctor to make a note on their charts about the need for this equipment each year. People who need these shoes should already have regular appointments booked in advance, so it’s easy to ask the office to note that this appointment should involve discussion of diabetic shoes. Also, when noting the appointment in one’s own calendar, be sure to add a note about diabetic shoes.
  • Order shoes right after a doctor’s appointment. Of course, a reminder from the doctor doesn’t mean much if it isn’t followed by action. Those who make a routine of ordering shoes right after a regular checkup each year may find it easier to remember this important order.
  • Ask a podiatrist if it’s time for new shoes. Those who are better able to remember deadlines can also be strategic about their order by asking their podiatrist during a Medicare-covered appointment to whether their inserts/shoes are due for a replacement. If they say no, it may be wise to wait until later in the year (September – early November) to order shoes. If they say yes, of course, order them ASAP!
  • Tell a few loved ones about the deadline. It might be tough to remember the application deadline on one’s own, but telling a spouse, caregiver, and children about it as well will increase the likelihood someone will remember.
  • Write it down. Of course, the best advice is often the simplest – make a note in a calendar and stick to it! For those who do better with routine, picking a month each year to make an order is the best option.

Medicare won’t cover my therapeutic shoes. Now what?

At No Cost Shoes, we’re often surprised by how many people are unaware of Medicare’s coverage of shoes for diabetic Americans. It’s a huge benefit, and one that can make a big difference in the lives of people with diabetes. But, as more people find out about this coverage, those who do not qualify have started asking: “What can I do if I want diabetic shoes and Medicare won’t cover them?” Luckily, there are a few steps you can take if you find that coverage is not available to you at this time.

What are the Medicare requirements for diabetic shoe coverage?

In order for Medicare and most insurance plans to cover diabetic shoes, a doctor must attest that the patient needs them by filling out a Certificate of Medical Necessity (CMN). Patients may qualify for a CMN if they have both diabetes and a pre-existing foot condition of some kind. Qualifying foot conditions include:

  • history of partial or complete foot amputation
  • history of previous foot ulceration
  • history of preulcerative callus
  • nerve damage because of diabetes with signs of problems with calluses
  • poor circulation
  • foot deformity

Some people have diabetes but are unaware if they have any foot condition. Others may have foot conditions but not be diabetic. For these individuals (many of whom can still benefit a great deal from diabetic shoes!) there are a few options.

Tip #1: Visit a podiatrist to confirm whether you have any hidden foot issues.

podiatrist checking diabetic patient's feetAlthough your family doctor is often the one filling out a CMN for your diabetic shoes, early warning signs of diabetic neuropathy and other foot conditions are most likely to be identified by a podiatrist.

If you have diabetes, Medicare covers one foot exam every 6 months. Take advantage of this coverage and maintain regular appointments to stay on top of your foot health. If you have a hidden condition that may entitle you to free diabetic shoes, or if you develop one in the future, a podiatrist can identify the first signs.

Tip #2: Look online for affordable diabetic shoes.

Many people with and without diabetes who do not qualify for diabetic shoes covered by Medicare still benefit from therapeutic footwear a great deal. It can increase comfort and mobility, as well as playing an important role in preventing amputation and associated foot issues. However, the high-priced specialty shoes that a local medical supplier or podiatrist may sell can be out of the price range of someone without coverage.

buy diabetic shoes - all shoes are on sale

Online suppliers are a great option here. Even without coverage, you’ll want to look for a Medicare-approved supplier, such as nocostshoes.com, to ensure you are getting a high-quality product. In our case, therapeutic shoes with specialty inserts cost only $99 online – much less than you would pay in a specialist’s office.

Tip #3: Check your health insurance for additional coverage options.

Some insurance companies cover orthotics for a wider range of patients, so it’s a good idea to have a closer look at your policy before paying out-of-pocket for your shoes. Contact your insurance company to clarify the conditions they may have for covering orthotics, therapeutic shoes, and other specialty items, particularly if a doctor recommends them.

If you purchase your own insurance coverage instead of getting it through an employer, it can be helpful to “shop around” for a provider with a workable policy on durable medical equipment such as therapeutic shoes. These policies can also help cover the deductible for Medicare coverage, which can eliminate out-of-pocket cost if and when you do qualify for shoes.

Additional questions? Give us a call!

At No Cost Shoes, we are diabetic shoe experts. With direct billing options to both Medicare and insurance, we know exactly how coverage works. We can also offer great, affordable options to those who are not currently eligible for coverage. For more information, call us at 1-866-923-2423.  You can also check your eligibility for coverage using our easy online portal here.

 

50 Diabetes Statistics Every Care Provider Should Know

Caretakers, educators, doctors, students, and people with diabetes themselves are often curious about national diabetes statistics. So, we took a look at some of your  common questions and provided the figures to answer each of them. We hope this will help you to better understand diabetes and its associated risks, costs, and treatments.

How many Americans have Type 1 and 2 diabetes?

  • As of 2014, an estimated 422 million people worldwide are estimated to have diabetes. (Word Health Organization)
  • An estimated 23.1 million people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with diabetes. That’s an average of 7.2% of the U.S. population. (CDC, 2017)
  • An additional 7.2 million people in the United States are estimated to have undiagnosed diabetes, making the total estimated sum of diabetic Americans 30.3 million. (CDC, 2017)
  • An additional 2.9% of Americans are estimated to have undiagnosed diabetes. (CDC, 2017)
  • 5% of diabetics are diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes; the rest have Type 2 diabetes. (CDC, 2017)

What is the prevelance of diabetes based on demographic details like age and race/ethnicity?

  • 193,000 children and adolescents under 20 years of age (0.18% of the U.S. population) have been diagnosed with diabetes (CDC, 2017)
  • 89% of people with diabetes are aged 45 and older. (CDC, 2017)
  • Prevelance is significantly higher among American Indians/Alaska Natives (an estimated 14.9% of males and 15.3% of females have diabetes in this demographic). (CDC, 2013)
  • Prevenance is also higher amongst Hispanic (12.6% males; 11.7% females) and non-Hispanic blacks (12.2% males, 13.2% females). (CDC, 2013)
  • Prevelance is lower amongst Asian Americans (9.0% of males and 7.3% of females) and non-Hispanic whites (8.1% of males and 6.8% of females). (CDC, 2013)
  • 12.6% of adults with less than a high school education have diagnosed diabetes, compared to 7.2% of those with most than a high school education. Of those who graduated high school, 9.5% have a diabetes diagnosis. (CDC, 2017)

united states of america diabetes heat map where do people have diabetes

The above figures and heat map are from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) National Diabetes Statistics Report, 2017. 

How common is prediabetes?

Prediabetes is determined based on a person’s fasting glucose or A1C level. When these levels are too high, a person is diagnosed with prediabetes. 

  • An estimated 33.9% of U.S. adults 18 and older have prediabetes (CDC, 2015).
  • However, only 11.6% have been told by a health care professional that they have this condition, making it commonly undiagnosed. (CDC, 2015)

What are the reasons people diabetes are hospitalized? How often do hospitalizations occur?

  • The yearly total of hospital discharges for diabetes-related illnesses is 7.2 million. (CDC, 2014)
  • The yearly total of emergency department visits for diabetes-related complications is 14.2 million. (CDC, 2014)
  • The leading causes of these discharges are major cardiovascular disease (1.5 million), lower extremity amputation (108,000), and diabetic ketoacidosis (168,000). (CDC, 2017)
  • An estimated 36.5% of U.S. adults with diagnosed diabetes have a crude prevelance of kidney disease. (CDC, 2017)

How common is diabetic neuropathy and other foot-related issues?

  • An estimated 30 million Americans have some form of peripheral neuropathy. (Foundation for PN)
  • Between 60%-70% of Americans with peripheral neuropathy (18-21 million) have diabetic neuropathy. (Foundation for PN)
  • Acout 60-70% of people with diabetes have some form of diabetic nerve damage. (California Podiatric Medical Association)
  • During their lifetime, 15% of people with diabetes will experience a foot ulcer. Of this group, 14-24% will require amputation. (California Podiatric Medical Association)
  • Each year, more than 82,000 amputions are performed among people with diabetes. (California Podiatric Medical Association)

How much does diabetes cost Americans each year?

  • The total direct and indirect cost of diagnosed diabetes in the U.S. is estimated as $347 billion as of 2017. This includes $237 billion in direct medical costs and $90 billion in reduced productivity. (ADA, 2018)
  • The cost of diagnosed diabetes treatment has increased 26% over a 5-year period, from $245 billion in 2012 to the current $347 billion figure. (ADA, 2018)
  • Hospital inpatient care makes up 30% of these costs, while prescription medications are another 30%. (ADA, 2018)
  • The average annual medical expenditures for a person with diabetes is $16,752. Of that, an estimated $9,601 is used towards diabetes-related expenses. (ADA, 2018)
  • Medical expenditures for those with diabetes are approximately 2.3x higher than they would be without diabetes. (ADA, 2018)
  • In the U.S., 66% of costs related to diabetes are provided by government insurance (ie. Medicare, Medicaid, the military). (ADA, 2018)To see a list of all diabetic support products and services covered by Medicare, click here.

To order diabetic shoes covered by Medicare, click here.

Sources:
Center for Disease Control (CDC). National Diabetes Statistics Report. 2017. 
American Diabetes Association. Economic Costs of Diabetes in the U.S. in 2017. Published by Diabetes Care, March 2018.

Mathers CD LoncarD. Projections of global mortality and burden of disease from 2002 to 2030. PLoS Med, 2006. 3(11):e442 – statistic republished via World Health Organization

The Foundation for Peripheral Neuropathy, Peripheral Neuropathy Risk Factors + Facts, accessed Oct. 2018.

California Podiatric Medical Association, Facts of Diabetes and the Foot, accessed Oct. 2018.

Helpful Tips for Supporting Your Diabetic Spouse

Diabetes is a challenging diagnosis that millions of families across the United States face each year.

Why do we say “families” instead of “individuals”? Because the emotional toll, necessary lifestyle changes and possible side-effects of diabetes almost always influences lives outside of the person who gets the diagnosis. Additionally, loved ones play a critical role in helping people with diabetes live a full and happy life.

Children, parents, siblings, and friends can all be an important part of a diabetes treatment plan. However, those who live and share their lives with a diabetic loved one – spouses, life partners, or significant others – often have the biggest impact on a diabetic partner’s health. Here are some tips for those who are supporting a diabetic spouse or partner.

1) Plan for date nights that don’t involve unhealthy food, sugary treats or questionable menus.

happy senior couple walking at summer park diabetic spouse date ideas

For many couples, “quality time” and social activities often come with a menu – and usually not a very diabetes-friendly one! When date night rolls around, people with diabetes can feel torn between the wants of their partner and the need to follow a diabetes-friendly diet.

A spouse or significant other can alleviate this stress by not putting their partner in a position where they have to choose between their health and fun dates. Instead, come up with shared activities that support the diabetic treatment plan.  This can include active pastimes like bowling, golf, walks in the park, going to the theatre (skip the candy this time!), dancing, card games, or sharing a healthy meal at home.

While it may be a change of pace for some couples, finding a couple shared activities that don’t lead to dietary difficulties is a good place to start when building a diabetes-friendly lifestyle.

2) Empower a diabetic loved one to take control of management tasks like blood sugar testing, regular appointments and, insulin taking.

One mistake spouses can make is becoming too integrated into their partners’ treatment plans. While sometimes a third party does need to be responsible for things like testing blood sugar (for example, if a diabetic person has severe dementia), those who can manage their own health should be empowered to do so.

That said, there is no harm in spouses keeping an eye out to make sure their partner is regularly checking their blood sugar and following doctor’s orders. After all, two heads are better than one! However, the goal should be to help the diabetic partner to manage things independently. For example, a spouse can ask if their partner checked his or her blood sugar, or remind them of appointments if it comes to mind – but they should also help put reminder systems in place like phone alarms and calendars to make sure their spouse has a handle on these daily tasks in the future.

If a partner or any loved one notices consistent mismanagement of diabetes, the best course of action is to raise the issue with a person’s family doctor. Often, diabetes management training or tools like a continuous glucose monitor can help in these cases.

3) Support a diabetic spouse by joining in their lifestyle changes.

diabetes supporting spouse by making dinner together

One of the best things about a diabetic meal plan is that it can be a healthy change for anyone, even if they are not personally diabetic. While people without diabetes don’t need to be as strict about their eating habits, there’s no harm in eating better and moving more! People with diabetes will find the lifestyle changes a lot easier with their partner right by their side. Plus, it makes meal planning way easier when both people are eating the same thing.

4) Get educated!

The more a family knows about diabetes, the easier it is to care for a loved one with the diagnosis. Here are a few easy ways to get started:

  • Learn about diabetes management, including glucose testing, dietary restrictions, and exercise. This will help you plan for daily life and even special trips that are safe and healthy for a diabetic spouse.
  • Discuss issues related to feet and eye care with your doctors and specialists. Blindness and lost limbs are common side effects of diabetes, but they can often be prevented through the simple use of special care, regular appointments and diabetic shoes – all of which are covered by Medicare.
  • Speaking of Medicare, it’s a good idea to learn all about what’s covered by family and government plans! We made a list of everything Medicare covers for Americans with diabetes, which you can check out here.

For recipes, guides, worksheets, and more, you can also check out our list of “Top Resources for Americans with Diabetes.”

Getting therapeutic shoes and other resources for a spouse with diabetes

At No Cost Shoes, many of the calls we get are from children and spouses seeking Medicare-covered shoes for their loved ones. Many can’t believe that Medicare covers shoes for Americans with foot issues and diabetes, but the realization can be a game-changer for families.

To find out if you or your spouse qualify for shoes at no cost, fill out our online application or call us at 1-866-923-2423.

We are a Medicare-accredited supplier who helps thousands of families across the U.S. access the support they need to live a full and happy life together with therapeutic shoes, continuous glucose monitors, and other support aids.

What are the Best Medicare-Approved Diabetic Shoe Brands?

There are a lot of things to consider when buying diabetic shoes. Besides the usual considerations of style and comfort, Americans with diabetes should also be concerned with finding a pair that is covered under Medicare and/or private insurance. This means that shoes must be purchased from an approved supplier, be properly fitted, and be custom-molded by a reputable diabetic shoe brand.

But, which companies are the most reputable in the diabetic shoe world? What are the best therapeutic shoes on the market right now? Those who are new to shopping for this kind of footwear may need some help finding a brand and look that works for them. Here is an introduction to the 7 most popular, Medicare-approved diabetic shoe brands on the market today.

Orthofeet – the neuropathy and pain relief solution

orthofeet logo diabetic shoes

Orthofeet has earned its reputation as the #1 brand recommended by podiatrists. These shoes are all about medical technology, with pain relief at the forefront of their design. For who have multiple foot or pain issues alongside diabetes, Orthofeet’s scientifically-informed designs can make a huge difference in day-to-day comfort.

Features at-a-glance:

  • Tie-less laces and heel straps for easy fastening
  • Biomechanically engineered designed to maximize pain relief
  • A high level of cushioning inside the shoe to help the whole body, including the lower back and legs
  • Stretchable material for maximum comfort

Reviews of Orthofeet shoes:

orthofeet shoes reviews diabetes
Reviews from Judge.Me/Facebook
Browse Orthofeet Diabetic shoes for women

Browse Orthofeet diabetic shoes for men

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Apex – the original therapeutic shoe

Apex released its first therapeutic shoe, known as “the healing shoe,” in 1971. The comfort of “the healing shoe” appealed to both people with foot conditions and those without, prompting Apex to double down on manufacturing high-quality therapeutic shoes. With a wide range of shoes of many styles and international distribution, Apex is a brand that continues to be trusted by consumers across the U.S.

Features at-a-glance:

  • Trusted brand with nearly 50 years in the therapeutic shoe industry
  • Multiple, removable layers to customize your shoe depth and easily get the perfect fit
  • Molded external heel counter
  • Padded collar and tongue to prevent heel slippage

Reviews of Apex shoes:

buyer reviews apex diabetic shoes

Browse APEX shoes for women

Browse APEX shoes for men

Apex diabetic shoes bestsellers


Anodyne – the new brand on the block

anodyne shoes logo diabetic shoesAnodyne is one of the newest diabetic shoe brands on the market. Launched in 2015 and based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Anodyne’s story is no doubt a fascinating one – launched by a former VP of Dr. Comfort, the company aims to add fashion-forward sleekness to the diabetic shoe market.

Features at-a-glance:

  • Fashionable, modern design
  • A variety of shoe types including hiking boots, Mary Janes, and sneakers
  • Mirror sticker in every box to help with self-inspecting feet
  • A unique line of comfortable trail boots and running shoes for active diabetics

Reviews of Anodyne shoes:

Anodyne reviews best diabetic shoes

Browse anondyne shoes for men

 

Browse anondyne shoes for women

anodyne womens sneakers diabetes bestsellers


Dr. Comfort – the king of therapeutic inserts

dr comfort diabetic shoe brandDr. Comfort has earned its place as one of the most popular diabetic shoe brands. Founded in Mequon, Wisconsin in 2002, the company’s use of 3D technology has made it a particularly popular choice for custom inserts. Dr. Comfort’s wide range of styles and customization options has made it a podiatrist favorite.

Features at-a-glance:

  • The highest volume producer of custom diabetic inserts, with 3D printing technology used to get the fit just right
  • A great brand for first-time diabetic shoe buyers, with both prescription and non-prescription options
  • Very wide range of shoes, from athletic wear to dress shoes
  • Offers machine washable options

Reviews of Dr. Comfort shoes:

dr comfort diabetic shoe reviews

Browse DR. COMFORT shoes for women

Browse dr. comfort shoes for men

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New Balance – the active diabetic shoe

new balance diabetic shoesWho says you need to buy diabetic shoes from specialty brands? The well-known New Balance brand also offers Medicare-approved therapeutic options for fans of its athletic shoes. Simple and designed with activity in mind, New Balance offers diabetic shoes with both laces and velcro options. A word to the wise, however – since New Balance makes shoes for non-diabetics as well, be sure to double check with your diabetic shoe provider that the shoe you’re seeking is covered.

Features at-a-glance:

  • Diabetic shoes from an athletic shoe brand, with a design optimized for movement
  • Multiple width options to fit a diverse range of foot sizes and types
Browse New Balance Diabetic shoes for women

Browse New Balance Diabetic shoes for men

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Surefit – the doctor designed approach

Founded by a doctor in 2000, Surefit is a guaranteed safe bet when it comes to Medicare compliance. They seek to make great shoes accessible to medical professionals and patient alike, with several straight-forward and reliable designs that combine style, practicality and medical technology.

Features at-a-glance:

  • Prioritizes medical technology and education, with many resources for patients and podiatrists
  • Stylish, work-friendly designs
  • Variety of fastening types depending on preference and ability
Browse SUREFIT Diabetic shoes for women

Browse SUREFIT diabetic shoes for men

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Where to buy the best diabetic shoe brands?

Ideally, you should try to buy diabetic shoes from a supplier that:

  • Provides multiple different brands, colors, and styles to choose from;
  • Will directly bill Medicare or insurance for your shoes;
  • Provides convenient shoe fitting (our fitters can even come to you!);
  • Has a wide distribution network, so they can provide the best price for any shoes you need to pay for out-of-pocket (for example, because of our U.S.-wide distribution and large inventory, all our shoes are all on sale for $99).

No Cost Shoes checks these boxes and many more! We welcome you to order a color catalog of all the shoes we offer – with options from all the above-listed brands, you’re sure to find one you love!

8 Eye-Opening Quotes from Famous People with Diabetes

With more than 100 million Americans living with prediabetes and diabetes, it’s no surprise that people with the diagnosis come from all walks of life. But some may be surprised just how many familiar faces and A-list celebrities balance diabetes management with superstardom. Diabetics in the public eye are often asked questions about their diagnosis, and their answers can be inspirational and enlightening. Here are 8 of our favourite lines from people with diabetes in the spotlight.

Larry King

Diabetes just boggles me. I know when you get a heart pain; I’ve had them. I don’t know what diabetes feels like. … If someone had said to me, “What’s your No. 1 health problem?” I would have said heart disease and then diabetes. And what doctors tell me now is that I can transpose them and say diabetes first. 

In this interview with Diabetes Forecast, longtime talk show host and diabetes advocate Larry King points to a very important topic: the relationship between heart health and diabetes. Often considered to be two distinct challenges, the reality is that diabetes and heart disease often go hand in hand.  King shared, “My cardiologist said to me, diabetes is heart disease.”

Nick Jonas

“Diabetes sounds like you’re going to die when you hear it. I was immediately frightened. But once I got a better idea of what it was and that is was something I could manage myself, I was comforted.”

In his interview with fellow diabetic Larry King, Nick Jonas describes an experience with which many people with diabetes are familiar – confusion and panic at initial diagnosis, followed by a sense of security after some diabetes education. At No Cost Shoes, we have to tip our hats to diabetes management educators – they are so important to helping people like Nick understand the best way to manage diabetes day to day.

Later in the interview, Nick offers a glimpse of what diabetes management looks like to a touring musician. “I’ve had a few low blood sugars on stage,” he shared. “But, we have an amazing team when we’re on the road  who are always prepared. I have juice on the side of the stage and my guitar tech will bring it out and make sure I’m cool. It’s just about knowing how to manage your specific diabetes, I feel like. Once you get a handle on it, it’s okay.”

Dr. Phil McGraw

“One thing that you really have to do is move forward. You’ve gotta really tackle this. You can’t be a passive patient.”

Dr. Phil is no stranger to giving advice, but the tips he offers on diabetes are a bit more personal than his other quips. After being diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes over 25 years ago, McGraw became an advocate for healthy living and personal care. In this interview with TV show The Doctors,  encourages fellow diabetics  to take action with five steps, including get educated, get a team, and replace bad habits. Watch his story and advice for others here:

Mary Tyler Moore

(on insulin injections) “It’s just like sitting down to the make up table – I’ve got this I’m going to put on, have a drink of coffee, you know – it’s part of your routine.” 

TV darling Mary Tyler Moore’s discussion of insulin may sound casual, but it’s clearly something she takes very seriously – enough to make several television appearances to discuss diabetes, including frank discussion of risks including blindness and amputation. This clip from a 2005 shows how her matter-of-fact approach helped her manage the diagnosis, which she received in 1969.

Tom Hanks

“Everybody’s going to have some degree of health problems, and as we get older I think we’ve gotta maintain.”

Tom Hanks’ revealed his diabetes in a 2013 interview on Letterman, where he lightheartedly poked fun at the diagnosis. In a follow-up interview, he clarified that although he handled the diagnosis well, self-care was a priority. “I know what I have to do. I have access to good doctors, I can eat good food, and after that it’s all up to the individual.”

Halle Berry

“People think it’s hard to cut out sugar, but it can be done. You just have to put some effort in.”

The always optimistic Halle Berry noted in an interview with Marie Claire that the diet required to manage her diabetes had actually contributed to a better quality of life for her whole family. “I’m healthier since the diagnosis,” She told the magazine. “And I think it has made me a better mom, because I’m so aware of how much sugar we consume. I’ve very conscious of what my children eat and how much they take in.”

Jay Cutler

In our profession, you’re supposed to be tough…I thought it was something I would just bounce back from. 

This relateable quote from NFL star Jay Cutler explains the process many people go through when first diagnosed with diabetes, especially those expected to be “tough” and healthy for work like professional athletes.  Today, Cutler is comfortable discussing the emotional side of diabetes as well as the physical challenges. “Sometimes I take pride in it, sometimes I feel bad for myself. There’s a whole range of emotions you go through.” Cutler reveals the challenges of being a diabetic pro athlete in a series of videos, which you can watch here:

Randy Jackson

[With diabetes] there are so many things that you learn that you didn’t think you wanted to know, but now you have this disease, you’ve gotta do it.

Award-winning producer and American Idol judge Randy Jackson received his diabetes diagnosis while filming the popular talent show. Even though his father had the disease and he admits he wasn’t eating right, it still came as a shock. Luckily, he quickly learned to rise to the occassion. “All your life you’ve heard the doctors say diet and exercise actually works, but as I look back on it I was never really doing it. I had to have major behaviour modification in every way.” After losing 110 pounds and taking control of his diabetes, Jackson is able to share valuable lessons from his journey in appearances such as this interview with The Doctors.

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Note: This article was written by No Cost Shoes, a leading diabetic shoe supplier that provides Medicare-covered therapeutic shoes, inserts, and medical aids to people across the United States. For more information on how to get what you need to manage diabetes at no cost to you, visit nocostshoes.com.

12 Signs It’s Time to See a Podiatrist

Podiatrists are doctors who specialize in feet, ankles, and related structures in the leg. They help people who have issues such as dry heels, ankle pain, toe issues or other challenges related to their feet. For people with diabetes, the stakes are higher – podiatrists are a critical part of any diabetic treatment team, and knowing when to visit them can make a big difference in someone’s overall health.

No Cost Shoes is a supplier of therapeutic and diabetic shoes across the U.S., so we get questions about this a lot: “Why do I need a podiatrist?”, “How often should diabetics and non-diabetics get their feet checked?” and, of course, “What will my insurance cover?”

We think this information is important for anyone to have handy. So, we’ve developed this helpful list of 12 signs it’s time to see a podiatrist. This information can benefit everyone, though people with diabetes will find it particularly critical to follow.

1) It’s the doctor’s orders.

People often first mention foot issues to their family doctor, since this is the medical professional they see most regularly. Oftentimes, this physician will provide a referral to a podiatrist when patients bring up their feet. Like any medical referral, it’s important to follow it and see the recommended specialist.

Note: Individuals with diabetes should also speak with their physicians about filling out a Certificate of Medical Necessity (CMN) to access Medicare-covered therapeutic shoes and inserts. Click here to read the full process for getting diabetic shoes and other aids covered by Medicare.

2) Certain types of swelling.

It is not unusual for feet to swell after some activity. In fact, just about everyone’s feet are bigger later in the day due to natural swelling (this is why we recommend getting a shoe fitting in the afternoon, rather than the morning). However, some types of swelling are cause for concern. For example:

  • Swelling in just one foot;
  • Swelling that is extreme, especially if there is also pain;
  • Swelling that is persistent and doesn’t go down.

This kind of swelling can indicate an injury, blood clot, heart/circulation problems, or kidney issues. A visit to your family doctor or podiatrist is a good idea in these cases.

3) Unexplainable pain and/or numbness in one or both feet.

foot pain diabetes why to see a podiatrist

Numbness and pain in feet can be a sign of neuropathy. Many find this pain particularly flares up at night or in the morning. Those experiencing unfamiliar pains or numbness should speak to a podiatrist right away.

4) A blister, ulcer or sore that won’t go away.

A small blister is usually not cause for concern in most people. However, those with diabetes in particular may find that a small sore can turn into a large ulcer without proper care. The main signs of serious foot ulcers include black tissue or gangrene around the wound.

Keep an eye out for discoloration around a wound (especially dark colors), pain near the area, or sign of infection. Anything unusual such as this should be looked at by a professional right away, especially if diabetes is involved. Depending on the situation, your doctor or podiatrist might request an immediate appointment to look at any abnormalities, as tiny blisters can become serious problems rather quickly for someone with diabetes.

5) Thick corns or calluses.

Corns and calluses can be extremely uncomfortable, and often the right pair of therapeutic inserts or shoes can help soften the issue. A podiatrist will be able to examine the corns and recommend the best treatment options.

6) Split skin and heel dryness.

cracking skin dry heels diabetic feet

Dry skin is a common challenge for many people, but can be particularly prevalent in those with diabetes. Therapeutic inserts and shoes recommended by a podiatrist can make a big difference here.

7) Bruising or discoloration on the feet.

It can be quite a shock to see bruising on one or both feet, particularly if you don’t remember any injury taking place. Sometimes, people with peripheral neuropathy can get a foot injury without knowing it – even broken bones might fly under the radar for numb feet! Bruising and discoloration certainly warrant a trip to the podiatrist, especially if the cause of the issue is unknown.

8) Toe issues like ingrown toes or hammertoes

Ingrown toenails, hammertoes and other issues with toes are all things a podiatrist should look into, particularly if toes are causing pain or making it difficult to walk. Any diabetic with such issues should see a podiatrist right away, as the combination of hammertoes and circulation issues can lead to infections and ulcers. Luckily, therapeutic shoes and inserts can often help minimize these risks.

9) Starting a new exercise plan (in some cases).

No, we’re not saying that you need to see a podiatrist every time you plan to go to the gym. However, they should be consulted in certain cases:

  • If it will be intensive for your feet, such as training for a marathon;
  • If you have diabetes, particularly if you have had foot issues in the past;
  • If you need special shoes or inserts to support your new regimen;
  • If you have had a foot injury, surgery or challenge in the past and need to be cleared for the new venture.

10) Needing advice, fittings or a prescription for therapeutic shoes.

Anyone can buy therapeutic shoes without a prescription, however a podiatrist can be very helpful in clarifying what type of shoes a person needs. They can also write a prescription for shoes to help people qualify for insurance coverage, as Medicare and most insurers cover shoes for certain diabetic patients.

Along with a prescription and Certificate of Medical Necessity, Medicare and most insurers also require therapeutic shoes to be properly fitted before providing coverage. This will ensure shoes and inserts are perfectly customized to a person’s feet, making them far more comfortable and effective. Shoe fittings can often be done at a podiatrist’s office, as well as through an in-home visit from a shoe fitter. Click here to read all the options available for diabetic shoe fittings.

11) Difficulty adjusting to new shoes.

Podiatrists can offer specific instructions for “breaking in” new shoes (especially therapeutic shoes) without risking an injury, blister or other issues. This advice can be extremely valuable, so make sure to call a specialist if new shoes are giving you trouble. Trying to just “push through” can cause damage, especially in those with pre-existing conditions.

12) Insurance/Medicare covers your visit.

Why visit a podiatrist? Well, for many people the question is “why not?”!

Annual podiatrist visits are covered by Medicare for people with diabetes. Others may have the specialist paid for at least in part by a group insurance plan. Check to see if you are covered – if you are, it’s a worthwhile visit to mark on your calendar.

What Medicare Covers for Diabetics Dealing with Chronic Pain

Living with diabetes often involves more than just a change in diet and regular glucose testing. Diabetic individuals in the United States often experience a wide variety of complications that have a significant impact on daily life. One of the most impactful (and frequently misunderstood) issues that many people deal with is chronic pain, often caused by neuropathy.

Those who are experiencing chronic pain with diabetes often have several questions: How do I manage these pain issues while still living my life to the fullest? What treatment options are available to me? What does Medicare or my insurance company cover to treat?

We are here to help clarify how people with diabetes can use their Medicare coverage to live their best lives when faced with chronic nerve pain.

Why is chronic pain common in people with diabetes?

Chronic pain is defined as moderate to severe pain that is felt on a daily basis and continues for over six months. Statistically, people with diabetes are more susceptible to long-term pain than those without the diagnosis. Not all nerve pain has the same root cause, however. Here are some of the reasons a person with diabetes may be dealing with this issue:

  • Neuropathy. This is a common complication of diabetes that can include pain and numbness in the back, feet or hands.
  • Arthritis. Type 2 diabetes and arthritis both disproportionately affect people who are older, making the combination fairly common among aging Americans.
  • Fibromyalgia and pain conditions. While these conditions may not be directly linked to diabetes, chronic pain disorders combined with diabetic neuropathy can exacerbate the challenges people face.

What can I do to manage my chronic pain with diabetes?

Prescription medications are often the first thing discussed when it comes to treating chronic pain, but many different and non-drug treatment options can  help support an effective treatment plan. Luckily, Medicare covers many of these things.

For a full list of items covered by Medicare for people with diabetes, click here.

1) Use a Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulator (TENS Therapy)

freedom tens unit covered by medicare for diabetes chronic painTENS therapy uses small electrical impulses to block pain signals and increase endorphins. It is recommended by many pain management professionals as a non-invasive, non-painful and non-surgical way to treat neuropathy and similar conditions.

Besides its effectiveness, this treatment is used by many people with chronic pain because it is easy to do from the comfort of  home. The FREEDOM TENS Unit is a device that people can keep on hand to respond to pain flare-ups. It comes with four modes (Burst, Normal, Pulse Width Modulation, Pulse Rate Modulation) allow users to modify the treatment depending on what works for them.

How to get it a TENS unit covered by Medicare: Talk to your doctor to get a signed “durable medical equipment” prescription for a TENS unit. You will need to meet certain standards in order to be approved for coverage, including the verifying that the pain is chronic (3 months or longer). Medicare will typically cover a 30 to 60 day rental of the unit to start, then allow people to move onto a full purchase if the treatment is successful. For more information on the paperwork needed and how to rent or buy a TENS unit, contact Quantum Medical Supply at 1-866-923-2423.

2) Wear the right shoes and inserts.

If you are feeling chronic pain in your feet, ankles, legs or even hips, there is some relief available: Medicare covers one pair of therapeutic shoes and three pairs of inserts for qualifying people each year. Even if the pain has not reached your feet, diabetic shoes can play an important role in protecting from future damage.

How to get diabetic shoes and inserts covered by Medicare: To obtain coverage, your doctor will need to fill out both a Certificate of Medical Necessity and a Shoe Prescription. The shoe prescription can also come from a podiatrist or nurse practitioner. Your shoes will also need to be professionally fitted and ordered your shoes from a Medicare-approved supplier. Some, like nocostshoes.com, are even able to directly bill your insurance company. To see if you qualify, click here to fill out our application.

3) Get back, knee, ankle and/or wrist braces.

Braces are commonly recommended by doctors and physiotherapists to reduce pain from free-moving joints. There are specific types of braces that may be more beneficial for long-term use by someone with chronic pain; for example, this product from TemCare Pro uses an air pump system to help people customize the compression for added comfort.

How to get diabetic shoes and inserts covered by Medicare: Like shoe coverage, a certificate of medical necessity and qualifying diagnosis is needed to get coverage for these items. For more details on what is available and the documents needed for coverage, call 866-923-2423.

4) Control your blood sugar using a continuous glucose monitor (CGM).

Managing blood sugar should be at the top of your list if you’re dealing with any symptoms of diabetes, including chronic pain from neuropathy. Medicare covers various blood sugar/glucose testing aids including test strips, syringes, and insulin pumps. One of the most exciting and often lesser known things Medicare covers for glucose management is a continuous glucose monitor or CGM.

Continuous glucose monitors like the Dexcom G6 are an easy-to-use alternative to a finger prick blood sugar test. Using a small sensor placed below the skin, it keeps an eye on glucose on an ongoing basis. This can improve the accuracy of readings and remove the discomfort of a traditional test. Best of all, this technology is free or deeply subsidized for people with Medicare and certain insurance plans!

 

What is the difference between diabetic shoes and “regular” shoes or sneakers?

There is a good reason Medicare covers a pair of diabetic shoes each year for qualified people in the United States. The risk of serious complications, up to and including loss of limbs, is very real for people with diabetes. Foot care is a must for this segment of the population, and diabetic shoes are among of the most important preventative tools available. Despite this fact, many people are still unsure whether they need diabetic shoes. What makes these therapeutic shoes different from every day, “regular” sneakers, anyway?

First, let’s clarify the basic differences – if you look closely, you’ll see there are many! Here are some of the characteristics of therapeutic shoes for people with diabetes:

First, let’s clarify the basic differences – if you look closely, you’ll see there are many! Here are some of the characteristics of therepeutic shoes for people with diabetes:

Increased depth for insoles/orthotics: Diabetic shoes have significantly more depth. This added space can accommodate orthotics or insoles (3 pairs of therepautic inserts are also covered by Medicare each year).

wide diabetic shoes sneakers

Smooth interior for blister prevention: People with diabetes are extremely prone to blisters and ulcers, so these shoes take no chances. Stitching will only be found on the outside of the shoe, while the inside remains completely smooth.

Heel counter to keep the foot in place: A heel counter is a plastic insert that reinforces the heel cup of a shoe. These are built into diabetic shoes to keep the foot in place and increase stability.

Padding for stability: Padding will be found around the collar of the ankle and the tongue of the shoe. Like the heel counter, this helps keep the foot secured in place and prevents twisted ankles and other missteps.

Increased space and protection for toe health: Unlike other shoes which aretoe box diabetic shoes for women tight around the toes, these shoes offer more space in the toebox. This is a particularly helpful feature for those with conditions like hammertoes. The toebox also has added protection, so stubbing your toe will be less of a risk to your foot health.

Non-skid soles and proper fitting to prevent falls: Twisting an ankle, tripping over feet or falling over can cause particular issues for people with diabetes, especially those who have nerve damage or pre-existing foot conditions. The stable design of these shoes, professional custom fittings, and no-slip soles can help keep wearers safe and secure.

Diabetic insoles to prevent movement within the shoe: Blisters and other injuries are often caused by an unsecured foot moving back and forth within a shoe. Multi-density diabetic insoles are a critical part of diabetic shoes (that’s why Medicare covers 3 per year!) as they help to prevent this issue.

Can people without diabetes wear these shoes?

Non-diabetics purchasing and wearing therapeutic shoes is actually fairly common! They are extremely comfortable and effective in preventing ulcers, blisters, and other issues, so feet of all kinds can find refuge in a pair.

The most inexpensive way to purchase diabetic shoes if you are not covered by Medicare is to go to an insurance-approved supplier like No Cost Shoes. While No Cost Shoes is mainly used by people approved for direct billing to insurance, it also offers the option to purchase shoes at a lower rate than most storefronts because of its wide inventory.

Can I just wear comfortable sneakers if I have diabetic neuropathy or related issues?

As you can see from the above comparison, there are major differences between even the most comfortable pair of sneakers and properly fitted diabetic shoes. Why take the risk, especially when you can get shoes completely for free through insurance and Medicare? Not only are diabetic shoes the healthier and safer option, but for many Americans, they are less costly as well.

What about special occassions or formal work meetings? Women in particular can sometimes feel pressured to take a risk with their health and wear a strappy pair of heels for “just one night.” The problem with this is that all it takes is one tiny blister to set off a chain reaction that ends with an ulcer and even a lost limb for someone with diabetes. It is a better idea to shop for some attractive therapeutic shoes that will match the occasion, such as the popular Mary Janes from Apex or the “Breeze” and “Paradise” lines from Dr. Comfort. You can find several different styles, colors and options on NoCostShoes.com.
fashion diabetic shoes brown slip on orthofeet
Orthofeet Slip-On w/ Strap Brown
apex mary jane diabetic shoes for women
Janice Black Velcro shoes from APEX
diabetic shoes for going out special occassion women
Paradise Pewter Velcro Shoes from Dr. Comfort