Over time, diabetes can cause you to lose feeling in your feet. When you lose feeling in your feet, you may not feel a pebble inside your sock or a blister on your foot, which can lead to cuts and sores. Diabetes also can lower the amount of blood flow in your feet. Numbness and less blood flow in the feet can lead to foot problems.
Foot care is very important for all people with diabetes, but even more so if you have:
pain or loss of feeling in your feet (numbness, tingling)
changes in the shape of your feet or toes
sores, cuts, or ulcers on your feet that do not heal
Things to remember:
1. Check your feet every day
Look at your bare feet every day for cuts, blisters, red spots, and swelling.
Use a mirror to check the bottoms of your feet or ask a family member for help if you have trouble seeing.
2. Wash your feet every day
Wash your feet in warm, not hot, water every day.
Dry your feet. Be sure to dry between the toes.
3. Keep the skin soft and smooth.
Rub a thin coat of lotion over the tops and bottoms of your feet, but not between your toes.
4. Smooth corns and calluses gently
If your doctor tells you to, use a pumice stone to gently smooth corns and calluses.
Do not use over-the-counter products or sharp objects on corns and calluses.
5. If you can see, reach, and feel your feet, trim your toenails regularly. If you cannot, ask a foot doctor (podiatrist) to trim them for you
Trim your toenails straight across and smooth the corners with an emery board or nail file.
6. Wear shoes and socks at all times
Never walk barefoot.
Wear shoes that fit well and protect your feet.
Feel inside your shoes before putting them on to make sure the lining is smooth and that there are no objects inside.
7. Protect your feet from hot and cold
Wear shoes at the beach and on hot pavement.
Wear socks at night if your feet get cold.
Do not test bath water with your feet.
Do not use hot water bottles or heating pads on your feet.
8. Keep the blood flowing to your feet
Put your feet up when sitting.
Wiggle your toes and move your ankles up and down for 5 minutes, two or three times a day.
Do not cross your legs for long periods of time.
Do not smoke.
9. Be active every day
Talk to your health care team about safe ways you can be more active.
10. Check with your health care team
Have your doctor or nurse check your bare feet and tell you if you have foot problems or may get foot problems in the future. Remember that you may not feel the pain of an injury.
Call your health care team right away if you find a cut, sore, blister, or bruise on your foot that does not begin to heal after a few days.
Follow your health care team’s advice about foot care.
11. Take care of your diabetes
Ask your health care team to help you set and reach goals for managing your blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol.