Diabetic Shoe Program

What Is The Diabetic Shoe Program?

The Medicare Therapeutic Shoe Bill allows people with diabetes to get specialized footwear and foot orthotics.

Therapeutic shoes have extra depth to accommodate a diabetic insole that is custom fitted for the patient’s foot. A rocker bottom, coupled with a rigid shank, can aid in realigning ground forces and can encourage a normal gait. The shoe is lightweight with a secure closure that ensures that the shoe stays on securely to protect the foot when used with a special heat moldable insert.

For each individual, coverage provides for one pair of extra depth shoes and three pairs of inserts annually. Medicare will pay 80% of the eligible cost. Secondary insurance may completely cover the remaining cost.

Shoes and inserts are often covered by most insurance companies for people who suffer from diabetes and have advanced diabetic foot care needs.

Who Is Eligible for Benefits?

Medicare’s intent is to reduce the incidence of diabetic foot complications and help people maintain an active lifestyle.

Diabetic shoes, inserts and/or modifications to the shoes are covered if the following criteria are met:

  1. The patient has diabetes mellitus.
  2. The patient has one or more of the following conditions:
  • History of partial or complete amputation of the foot.
  • History of previous foot ulceration.
  • History of pre-ulcerative callus.
  • Peripheral neuropathy with evidence of callus formation.
  • Foot deformity.
  • Poor circulation.


Diabetes mellitus is a chronic disease that affects the lives of about 16 million people in the United States. Every day, 2200 new cases of diabetes are diagnosed, and an estimated 780,000 new cases are identified each year. The disease is marked by the inability to manufacture or properly use insulin, and impairs the body’s ability to convert sugars, starches and other foods into energy. Nearly 25% of all diabetic patients develop foot problems related to the disease.

Proper foot care is an important part of diabetes management. In fact, people with diabetes are at an increased risk of serious foot disorders. Foot problems are the most common diabetic-related complication leading to hospitalization. Ulcers or sores on the feet can be caused by improper shoe gear that can result in infection and possible amputation. Studies now show that well-fitted diabetic shoes with moldable insoles reduced the development of these ulcers and sores.

By starting preventative measures early, it is possible to avoid later foot complications and will enable you to maintain an independent, active lifestyle.

Keeping the foot healthy is a responsibility of both the patient and your podiatric physician at Foot And Ankle Clinics. That is why therapeutic shoes and insoles are an excellent first step toward better foot health.

The Role of Your Podiatric Physician

Diabetes is a systematic disease affecting many different body parts, including the feet. The podiatric physician, as an integral part of the treatment team, has documented success in the prevention of amputations, one of the most serious conditions he or she treats.

The key to amputation prevention in diabetic foot care patients is early recognition and regular foot screenings, at least annually, from one of the skilled doctors at foot and ankle clinic.

The following helpful tips can allow diabetics to maintain proper foot health:


  • Wash feet daily, in the morning or before bed.
  • Inspect feet and toes daily for cuts or sores.
  • Lose weight, if overweight.
  • Wear thick, soft socks.
  • Give up smoking.
  • Cut toenails straight across.
  • Exercise; walking is usually best.
  • Get regular check-ups with your podiatric physician.
  • Be properly fitted and measured when buying new shoes.
  • Avoid extreme temperatures.
  • Inspect inside of shoes for foreign objects and rough areas.


  • Ever go barefoot, even inside.
  • Wear high heels, sandals or shoes with pointed toes.
  • Drink alcohol in excess, or at all.
  • Wear anything that is too tight around the legs.
  • Ever remove calluses, corns or warts by yourself.
  • Smoke.
  • Soak your feet in hot water.

To learn more about the Diabetic Shoe Program or how to protect your feet from harm, please schedule an appointment with the Foot and Ankle Clinic today.