Foot Care

What You Should Know About Foot Care

Young woman, smiling.

If you have diabetes, taking care of your feet is very important! Diabetes that is not well-managed can decrease the blood flow to your feet and damage the nerves (neuropathy). When that happens your feet may feel numb, hot or tingly. Diabetes can make the skin on your feet very dry. Dry skin can lead to cracks and sores. You may also get more calluses.

These cracks, sores and calluses combined with poor circulation can lead to foot ulcers that may be very hard to heal. If you have numb feet, it may be hard to feel any foot injury or infection and it may go unnoticed for a long time. Prevention of foot problems is very important!

What To Do

1. Keep your blood sugar in good control

2. Check your feet every day for cuts, scratches, blisters, red spots and swelling.

3. Do not soak your feet. Wash your feet every day using mild soap in warm, not hot, water.

4. Keep the skin soft and smooth.

5. Smooth corns and calluses gently.

6. If you can see and reach your toenails, trim them each week or when needed.

7. Wear comfortable shoes that fit well and protect your feet at all times.

8. Protect your feet from hot and cold.

9. Keep the blood flowing to your feet.

10. Have your medical provider check your feet for problems briefly at every visit. A complete foot exam should be done each year.

11. Call your medical provider right away if you find a cut, sore, blister, or bruise on your foot that does not begin to heal after one day.

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Take off your shoes and socks when you see your medical provider so they remember to check your feet. If your nails are very thick, you may need help cutting them. A foot doctor (podiatrist) can help you with this. With good care, your feet can last a lifetime.


Surprise in the Mirror

“At my diabetes education class, they were talking about checking your feet every day. This is boring! So what changes from one day to the next? Well, feeling a little stupid, I get a hand mirror like they said. And start looking at the soles of my feet. Nothing hurts, or itches. Seems silly! Then, uh oh! I see it and I can’t believe it. A needle—sticking right out of my foot! And it’s broken off. Well, I got myself to the doctor right away. You don’t fool with even a little hole in the foot. Even I know that. I just never expected to find one. I’m glad I looked.”

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