Good-quality shoes rather than therapeutic footwear may work just as well in the prevention of foot ulcers in diabetics, the results of a study reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association have suggested.

Diabetics are often advised to wear special shoes that give them extra space for their toes as the condition can lead to poor circulation and little feeling in their feet which in turn increases the risk of foot ulcers.

However, the recent study of 400 diabetics suggests good quality shoes are just as effective as special shoes. "The results were surprising," commented principal investigator Gayle E Reiber, MPH, PhD, of the Veterans Affairs (VA) Puget Sound Health Care System and the University of Washington.

"The popular notion among foot specialists is that therapeutic shoes and inserts should be prescribed freely to all patients with diabetes and prior foot ulcers. However this study did not provide evidence to support this practice."