Diabetes Foot Care


Foot care is particularly important for people with diabetes. Over time, diabetes can damage the nerves in your feet, so you may not feel, for example, a pebble inside your sock or a blister on your foot. Reduced blood flow to the feet also makes it harder for injuries or infections to heal.

It is important to spot and address foot problems early, such as:

  • Burning, tingling or painful feet
  • Loss of sensation to touch, cold or heat
  • Changes in the color or shape of your feet
  • Thickening and yellowing of toenails
  • Red spots, blisters or sores

To avoid serious foot problems, you should develop good foot care habits. Every day you should:

  • Check your feet. Look for cuts, sores and red spots each evening when you take off your shoes.
  • Wash and dry your feet. Use warm, not hot, water to wash your feet. Be sure to pat them dry. Talcum powder or cornstarch can help keep the skin between your toes dry and prevent infection.
  • Moisturize your feet. Rub a thin layer of lotion on the tops and bottoms of your feet. Be careful not to moisturize between your toes because this might cause an infection.

Healthy Foot Habits

In addition to daily foot care, there are many other things you can do to keep your feet healthy:

  • Smooth calluses and corns gently. Check with your doctor for the best way to remove these thick patches of skin.
  • Trim your toenails regularly. Trim your toenails straight across and smooth the corners with a nail file. Ask someone to help if you cannot see, reach or feel your feet.
  • Always wear shoes and socks. Do not walk barefoot when inside or outside to avoid stepping on something that may hurt your foot.
  • Keep blood flowing to your feet. Put your feet up when you are sitting. Do not cross your legs for long periods of time. Try to avoid tight socks or elastic around your ankles.
  • Stay active. Being active improves blood flow to the feet. Ask your doctor for safe ways to be active.

Choosing the Right Footwear

When you have diabetes, it is essential that you choose the right types of shoes. Choose shoes that have closed toes and heels, and soft insides. Shoes should always support your feet and allow them to breathe. Avoid shoes with pointed toes or high heels when possible. Inspect your shoes every day for tears or bumps that might cause irritation.

Diabetic foot problems can worsen very quickly, so it’s important to let your doctor know if you have any of these symptoms or issues. Your Mercy diabetes specialist will give you information on foot care and answer any questions you may have. Our goal is to keep up on the move and living life to its fullest.

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