Diabetes Foot Care

See also Diabetic Foot Problems
People with diabetes are at risk for developing foot problems that can be severe.

If you have diabetes, learning the proper guidelines for taking care of your foot can help you minimize the risk of foot ulcers and amputation. Diabetes can be dangerous to your feet that even a small cut can produce serious consequences like foot ulcers or, worse, amputation. It can also cause nerve damage and reduce blood flow to the feet which can make it harder to heal an injury or resist infection.

Foot ulcers and amputation are a major cause of morbidity and disability for people with diabetes. Early recognition of its symptoms can help prevent or delay the onset of its adverse outcomes.

When to see your doctor

Your doctor will give a foot assessment every time you visit his clinic. However, call your doctor if you notice the following problems:

  • Athlete’s foot (cracking between the toes)
  • Sores or wounds on your feet
  • Ingrown Toenail
  • Increasing numbness or pain
  • Calluses
  • Redness
  • Blackening of the skin
  • Bunions
  • Infection
  • Hammertoes

Guidelines in taking care of your foot

Learning the proper way of taking care of your foot can help you minimize the risk of foot ulcers and amputation. Here are some guidelines you can follow.

Look carefully at the top and bottom of your feet. Check for cuts, blisters, redness, swelling or nail problems. You can use a magnifying hand mirror to take a closer look. You can also ask someone else to do it for you if you can’t see them.

If you get a blister or sore from your shoes, never pop it. Instead, put a bandage over it and wear a different pair of shoes.

Keep your feet clean by washing them with lukewarm water every day. Always check the water temperature with your elbow, not your foot. Be gentle when bathing your feet. Wash them using a soft washcloth or sponge. Dry by blotting or patting and carefully dry between the toes.

Use a moisturizer daily to keep dry skin from itching or cracking. But don’t moisturize between the toes—that could encourage a fungal infection.

Cut your toenails after bathing. They are softer when they are wet. Cut them straight across and file the edges. Avoid cutting into the corners of your toes and trim your cuticles, as this could lead to ingrown toenails. You may want your podiatrist to do it for you.

Walk and work out in comfortable shoes and wear clean, dry socks. It is also important to change your socks daily. Don’t exercise when you have an open sore on your feet. It can worsen the condition of your foot.

Don’t wait to treat a minor foot problem. No “bathroom surgery” or medicated pads. Report to your doctor right away for appropriate treatment. Follow your doctor’s guidelines.

These socks have extra cushioning, do not have elastic tops, are higher than the ankle and are made from fibers that wick moisture away from the skin. These socks are often made from natural fibers like cotton, wool, or a cotton-wool blend. Be sure to change your socks daily.

If your feet get cold at night, wear socks. Never use a heating pad or a hot water bottle.

Look and feel inside your shoes before putting them on to make sure that there’s nothing irritating in them. Remember, your feet may not be able to feel a pebble or other foreign object, so always inspect your shoes before putting them on.

Never walk barefoot. Not even at home! Always protect your feet with shoes, hard-soled slippers, or similar footwear. You could step on something and get a scratch or cut. You must also wear shoes or boots that can protect your feet from weather conditions like cold and moisture.

It is also important for you not to wear shoes with high heels and pointed toes. You must also avoid shoes that leave your toes or heels unprotected. They leave you vulnerable to injury and infections.

Smoking restricts blood flow in your feet.

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