- Newly Diagnosed
- Basics of Diabetes
- Type 1
- Type 2
- New to Insulin
- Everyday Rituals
- What to Eat
- Festive Mood
Diabetes can be dangerous to your feet—even a small cut can produce serious consequences. Diabetes may cause nerve damage that takes away the feeling in your feet. Diabetes may also reduce blood flow to the feet, making it harder to heal an injury or resist infection.
Because of these problems, you may not notice a foreign object in your shoe. As a result, you could develop a blister or a sore. This could lead to an infection or a non-healing wound that could put you at risk for an amputation.
Check for cuts, blisters, redness, swelling or nail problems. Use a magnifying hand mirror to look at the bottom of your feet. Call your doctor if you notice anything.
Keep your feet clean by washing them daily. Use only lukewarm water—the temperature you would use on a new-born baby. Be gentle when bathing your feet: wash them using a soft washcloth or sponge.
Dry your feet by blotting paper or soft cloth 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 them straight across and file the edges. Don’t cut nails too short, as this could lead to ingrown toenails. If you have concerns about your nails, consult your doctor.
No “bathroom surgery” or medicated pads. Visit your doctor for appropriate treatment.
Change them daily. Consider socks made specifically for patients living with diabetes: 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. Wear socks to bed: If your feet get cold at night, wear socks. Never use a heating pad or a hot water bottle.
Remember, your feet may not be able to feel a pebble or other foreign object, so always inspect your shoes before putting them on.
Don’t let your feet get wet in snow or rain. Wear warm socks and shoes in winter. Consider using an antiperspirant on the soles of your feet: This is helpful if you have excessive sweating of the feet.
Not even at home! Always wear shoes or slippers. You could step on something and get a scratch or cut.
Guidelines for Foot care in diabetes, American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (ACFAS) 2020.