It is important to take special care of your feet when you have
diabetes. Poor care can lead to serious problems, such as food
Diabetes affects your feet in two ways:
Nerve damage may: cause your feet to lose feeling. If this happens,
a simple cut or sore can go unnoticed and lead to problems; change
the shape of your feet, causing pressure point. Blisters, sores,
and foot ulcers may form in these areas.
Poor blood flow to the feet causes injuries to heal more slowly.
One of the most important things you can do is keep your blood sugar
as close to normal (80 to 120 ml/dL) as possible. The Diabetes
Control and Complications Trial (DCCT), a 10-year study of 1,441
insulin-dependent patients, showed that keeping blood sugar as close
to normal as possible can reduce the risk of nerve damage by up
to 60%. (ask your doctor for more information about the test results.)
Look at the tops and bottoms. Check for scratches, cracks, cuts,
or blisters - especially between the toes and around the heel.
Check for ingrown toenails, corns, calluses, and sores. Also look
for changes in color, temperature, or shape. If you notice any
of these problems consult your doctor.
Water should be 90 to 95 degrees F. Do not soak your feet. Soaking
can cause your skin to dry and crack. Gently dry your feet. Keeping
your feet dry can prevent fungus growth. Keep skin from cracking
by rubbing a thin coat of oil, lotion, or cream on the tops and
bottoms of your feet. Do not apply between your toes. Use a little
powder if your feet sweat.
Cut your toenails after bathing, when they are soft and easy to
trim. Cut toenails straight across and smooth with an emery board.
Gently rub corns and calluses with a pumice stone after you have
washed your feet. This will take away extra skin that has built
up. Do not use corn removers, callus removers, razor blades, or
knives on corns or calluses. Always see your doctor if you have
Do not walk barefoot, even indoors. Use a sunscreen on the tops
of your feet in the summer. Break in new shoes slowly. Wear new
shoes for only 1 or 2 hours at a time. Always wear socks or stockings
with your shoes. Socks made of cotton or wool feel the best. Wool
socks are good for keeping your feet warm and dry.
If you smoke, try to quit. Smoking decreases blood flow to the
feet. Keep blood sugar and blood fat levels normal. Exercise every
day. Keep your feet warm, but do not use heating pads or hot water
bottles on your feet. Do not wear tight garters or socks.
Meet with them regularly. Take off your shoes and socks every
time you see your doctor or diabetes educator. This will remind
them to check your feet. Tell them if you have foot sores that
do not begin to get better within a week. Tell them when you are
having trouble keeping control of your blood sugar. They can help
you find the best way to manage your diabetes.