BACKGROUND: Previous work has found that people with diabetes do not wear their therapeutic footwear as directed, but the thinking behind this behaviour is unclear. Adherence to therapeutic footwear advice must improve in order to reduce foot ulceration and amputation risk in people with diabetes and neuropathy. Therefore this study aimed to explore the psychological influences and personal experiences behind the daily footwear selection of individuals with diabetes and neuropathy. METHODS: An interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) approach was used to explore the understanding and experience of therapeutic footwear use in people living at risk of diabetic neuropathic foot ulceration. This study benefited from the purposive selection of a small sample of four people and used in-depth semi structured interviews because it facilitated the deep and detailed examination of personal thoughts and feelings behind footwear selection. FINDINGS: Four overlapping themes that interact to regulate footwear choice emerged from the analyses: a) Self-perception dilemma; resolving the balance of risk experienced by people with diabetes and neuropathy day to day, between choosing to wear footwear to look and feel normal and choosing footwear to protect their feet from foot ulceration; b) Reflective adaption; The modification and individualisation of a set of values about footwear usage created in the minds of people with diabetes and neuropathy; c) Adherence response; The realignment of footwear choice with personal values, to reinforce the decision not to change behaviour or bring about increased footwear adherence, with or without appearance management; d) Reality appraisal; A here and now appraisal of the personal benefit of footwear choice on emotional and physical wellbeing, with additional consideration to the preservation of therapeutic footwear. CONCLUSION: For some people living at risk of diabetic neuropathic foot ulceration, the decision whether or not to wear therapeutic footwear is driven by the individual 'here and now', risks and benefits, of footwear choice on emotional and physical well-being for a given social context.



Publication Date


Publication Title

J Foot Ankle Res





Organisational Unit

School of Health Professions