Foot Care

Diabetes may often cause problems to your feet. These problems may include a loss of sensation (feeling) which prevents you from noticing blisters, scrapes and sores (also known as ulcers or wounds) that may be present on your feet. Diabetes also causes poor circulation to the feet which results in dry, cracked skin; both of which often lead to wounds.

Taking good care of your feet to prevent future problems is the most effective way to manage these complications. Wash your feet every day in warm water – – test the water first with your hand, elbow or thermometer before placing your feet in to make sure the temperature is not too hot. If you cannot take a shower, do not allow your feet to soak in the bathtub for long periods of time. Pat your feet dry with a soft towel, making sure to dry between your toes. Do not roughly rub the skin. If your skin is dry or cracked, use a moisturizing cream; however, do not apply between your toes as this may cause an ulcer if allowed to stay too moist. Use foot powders sparingly.

Always wear socks, preferably white or light-colored, and buy those made of 100% cotton or a blend which do not have seams or stitching around the heels and toes. Be sure to change them daily and never wear socks with holes or those which have been mended. Inspect socks at the end of the day for wear and possible drainage from a blister or ulcer on the foot. It is very important to wear boots or shoes that are properly fitted in order to prevent rubbing and irritation. Avoid shoes made of plastic, have open toes or heels, have thongs between the toes, or pointed toes. Always inspect the inside of your shoe with your hand (carefully) for sharp or loose objects before putting the shoe on your foot. New shoes should be broken in slowly, and not worn for longer than two hours at a time. If diabetes has caused a deformity in your foot, you may be required to wear shoes made especially for you which will be prescribed by your doctor. At the end of the day, inspect your shoes for wear and drainage from a new blister or an ulcer. Never go barefoot, even at home. Check your feet twice a day, morning and night, for red spots, blisters and ulcers. If an injury is discovered, no matter how small, see your doctor as soon as possible.

Small ulcers can quickly become serious infections if not treated quickly. Protect your feet as much as possible. Avoid exposing feet to car heaters set on high, sunburn, hot water bottles, heating pads, and adhesive tape. Do not treat corns, calluses or other foot problems on your own. Never trim your own nails or callus which has built up on your feet. This foot care must be reserved for your doctor or nurse only.