Diabetes and your feet: Tips for foot care
High blood sugar may cause nerve damage which can lead to a loss of feeling in the feet. When you have diabetes, this makes you prone to getting foot problems and infections. Poor wound healing is also a risk when blood sugar levels are high and this could result in foot ulcers which, left untreated, can lead to amputations.
Here are some tips to keep your feet healthy:
- Manage your diabetes to keep blood glucose levels within your target range, with the help of your healthcare team.
- Check your feet daily. Try to do it at a regular time each day, like when you’re washing them or when you take your shoes off in the evening. Check the bottom of your feet (sole), the nails and in between your toes. Look for cuts, blisters, swelling and redness.
- Wash your feet every day. Use gentle soap and lukewarm water. Dry them carefully, especially between the toes, and apply a moisturizing cream (but not between the toes where moisture can cause germs to grow).
- Take care of your toenails. Trim them when needed; smooth the corners with an emery board or file to prevent your nails from growing into the skin. Get help to care for your toenails if you cannot do it yourself safely.
- Protect your feet from heat and cold. Avoid using hot water bottles, hot (or cold) packs or electric blankets; test water temperature before putting your feet in it.
- Always wear comfortable shoes and socks. Never walk barefoot — even indoors. Choose shoes that fit well and protect your feet with socks that help to keep them dry. Check inside your shoes before you put them on for anything that can irritate your feet.
- Talk to your healthcare provider about wounds, blisters, irritations, cracks or foot changes such as color shape, temperature or pain and get the needed help including a referral to a foot doctor.
- Stop smoking — tobacco use reduces the blood flow to the feet, which may lead to foot problems.
American Diabetes Association. (ADA) – Foot Care. Accessed online Sept. 9, 2019