Diabetes and Your Feet
Poor Blood Flow and Damaged Nerves
How It All Fits Together
Types of Foot Problems
- Cuts and scrapes
- Corns and calluses —thick layers of skin caused by continuous rubbing or pressure
- Blisters—fluid-filled bumps caused by wearing shoes that do not fit well or by wearing shoes without socks
- Ingrown toenails —when the edge of a toenail grows into the skin
- Bunion —large bump on the big toe
- Plantar warts —growths caused by a virus; usually found on the bottoms of feet
- Hammertoe —curling of a toe caused by a problem with the middle joint of the toe
- Athlete’s foot —infection caused by a fungus leading to itchy, red, cracked skin; may also infect the toenail causing it to appear thick, yellow, and brittle
- Dry, cracked skin
Treat Your Feet Well
- See your doctor regularly and make sure she checks your feet at each visit. Take off your shoes once you are in the exam room so that she sees your feet.
- When cleaning your feet, avoid soaking them in water. Instead, wash your feet in warm water every day.
- Completely dry your feet. Do not forget to dry between your toes!
- If you have dry skin, rub lotion on your feet after they are washed and dry. Do not put lotion between your toes.
- Cut your toenails straight across. It may be easier to cut them after washing your feet, since the nail will be softer. Do not cut them too short.
- Use a pumice stone regularly to keep calluses thin. Do not cut at them with sharp objects.
- Wear socks or stockings. Wear them to bed if your feet are cold.
- Wear shoes or slippers, even if you are at home. Make sure your shoes fit well. Also, make sure they are closed-toe. Do not wear sandals.
- Keep your feet away from hot places, like a fireplace; hot bath or spa; or an electric blanket.
- When shopping for shoes, try to go shopping at the end of the day. Your feet are biggest during this time of day, so you will be able to buy shoes that are not too tight.
- If you can do so safely, put your legs up when sitting.
- Keep blood flowing to your feet by wiggling your toes or rotating your ankles several times a day.
- Do not use any medicine or ointments for your feet unless your doctor says it is okay.
- Changes in the shape of your feet and toes can happen with nerve damage. Talk to your doctor about special shoes you can wear, rather than trying to force your feet into regular shoes.
American Diabetes Association http://www.diabetes.org/
National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse http://diabetes.niddk.nih.gov/
Canadian Diabetes Association http://www.diabetes.ca/
Team Diabetes Canada Canadian Diabetes Association http://www.diabetes.ca/get-involved/supporting-us/team-diabetes/
Living with diabetes: foot complications. American Diabetes Association website. Available at: http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/complications/foot-complications/foot-care.html . Accessed September 12, 2012.
Foot and skin related complications of diabetes. Cleveland Clinic website. Available at: http://my.clevelandclinic.org/disorders/diabetes%5Fmellitus/hic%5Ffoot%5Fand%5Fskin%5Frelated%5Fcomplications%5Fof%5Fdiabetes.aspx . Accessed September 12, 2012.
Prevent diabetes problems: Keep your feet and skin healthy. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website. Available at: http://diabetes.niddk.nih.gov/dm/pubs/complications%5Ffeet/ . Updated May 2008. Accessed September 12, 2012.
- Reviewer: Brian Randall, MD
- Review Date: 09/2012 -
- Update Date: 09/12/2012 -