73 year old female with diabetes presented with feelings of frustration that she is unable to do what she wants in her retirement because of her feet. After evaluation and assessment we agreed to prioritize her desires:
1. Reduce pre-ulcerative calluses at balls of feet, currently endangering her health
2. Accommodate her different sized feet (LEFT 8 1/2 narrow and RIGHT 7 1/2 wide)
3. Walk safely since her balance is compromised with mis-shapen feet
4. Look CUTE and STYLISH
At Comfort Shoe Specialists, we believe in helping people look as good as possible, especially when we came to agreement of her list of priorities and in this order. First things first since footwear is physical medicine, dramatically capable of improving her health and well-being.
She worked with a wound center and various physicians with little improvement during the past 2 years. We believe that within 6 months her state of health, at least with her feet, will be substantially improved. That is our experience with wearing correct footwear, acclimating gradually as we direct and doing follow up. At our pedorthic facility, correct footwear means everything put on the feet from shoes to lotions to socks: we recommended Anastasia lotion and Thorlo Tennis Socks with extra cushioning under the entire foot PLUS additional protection at the balls of the feet (now available in BLACK). I was wearing Finn Comfort Soho in Black Griffin patent leather on the day that I worked with this patient and she said she wanted her shoes to look as close to them as possible.
While we require custom footwear to be high tops for greater stability and support, our shoemakers did a wonderful job fulfilling her desire for style and fashion. At the fitting, the soles will likely be sculpted to provide some designs and lines for panache. Subtle but make the shoes look more youthful.
What else? Regular maintenance is required with custom made footwear to get best results. Often, the wearer has unusual and/or demanding walking gait which requires follow up and sole maintenance. Give your local cobbler the business or bring back to us, but keep the soles repaired and leveled for optimal performance and results.
We learned that one of her physicians thought the cost of our shoes was excessive. We understand this reaction but we respectfully disagree. Per her requests, we provided styling and leathers that do not look like the typical custom molded Frankenstein looking shoes. She can go anywhere looking smartly fashionable. We are providing 3 sets of inserts to rotate, providing a minimum of 3-4 years of support. Since she has only one pair of safe shoes, we recommend 3 pairs of inserts so she can rotate, providing daily fresh support for healing and sanitation: regularly the custom inserts cost $395 pair X 3 pairs= $1,185 + special styling made with specialty black patent leather per customer request (cost is $112) + duplicate last ready for next pair (cost is $45) +cost of casting ($100) so total cost of shoes is $1,632. The normal cost of these shoes in black, brown, or taupe leathers with one set of insoles would have been $1060.
Medical costs of an amputation is greater than $40,000 PLUS prosthesis is $10,000 plus. Rate of mortality is 75% withing 5 years of an amputation. Proper footwear saves lives and lots of money.
With maintenance, shoes like these can last up to 10 years or more, especially when/if another pair is purchased so the shoes can be rotated as well as inserts. Not only is this effective and efficient physical medicine compared to alternatives of ulcer care and possible amputation(s), but client regains much if not all of her previous activities. Walking safely often improves mental states and can add to greater physical well-being. A reasonable investment in overall health? We believe so!
And she gets better balance and STYLE to boot!