Diabetes and Foot Care

Overview

It’s important for people with diabetes to take care of their feet. Because of diabetes, you may lose feeling in your feet. A minor foot injury can go unnoticed. It may become infected and lead to the loss of a toe, foot or leg.

Common Foot Problems

To avoid problems, carefully inspect your feet every day. Use a mirror to look at the soles. You should watch for ingrown toenails, blisters, dry skin, and corns and calluses. Look for plantar warts. These are small, firm, flesh-colored bumps on the soles of the feet. Inspect your toes for signs of athlete’s foot and toenail fungus. And if you have issues such as hammertoes or bunions, be sure to wear proper pads or inserts.

Caring for Your Feet

You should wash your feet every day in warm water. Don’t soak your feet, because this can dry out your skin. Dry them well, especially between the toes. Moisturize the tops and soles of the feet with a thin layer of lotion. Use powder between the toes. Keep corns and calluses smooth, and keep your toenails trimmed. Trim the nails straight across, and finish them with a file.

Protecting Your Feet

Wear socks and proper-fitting shoes at all times, even when indoors. Walking barefoot can lead to injury. If you buy new shoes, break them in slowly. Protect your feet from sources of heat, such as sunlight, radiators and hot pavement. Protect them in cold weather. If you are outdoors in cold weather, frequently check your feet for frostbite.

Regular Exercise

Regular exercise can be very beneficial to your health. Choose activities that are easy on your feet. Walking, swimming, dancing and bicycling are good choices. Keep blood flowing to your feet by putting your feet up when you are sitting. Wiggle your toes and flex your ankles.

Thorough Exams

Your doctor should thoroughly examine your feet every year. During an exam, your doctor will test the circulation and sense of feeling in your legs and feet. The doctor will look for signs of problems, and will decide if you need special shoes or inserts. And the doctor can trim nails or smooth corns or calluses if needed.

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