Diabetic Foot Care Guidelines
People with diabetes face extra dangers from injuries to their feet. Diabetes may cause nerve damage that dulls or eliminates the feeling in their feet. Diabetes may also reduce blood flow to the feet, making it harder for an injury to heal or resist infection.
Because of these problems, diabetics may not notice a foreign object in their shoe. As a result, they could develop a blister or a sore, which could lead to an infection or a non-healing wound that could put them at risk for amputation.
To avoid serious foot problems, people with diabetes should follow these guidelines.
- Inspect your feet daily. Check for cuts, blisters, redness, swelling, or nail problems. Use a magnifying hand mirror to look at the bottom of your feet.
- Wash your feet in lukewarm water. Keep your feet clean by washing them daily. Use water at the temperature you would use on a newborn baby.
- Be gentle when bathing your feet. Wash them using a soft washcloth or sponge. Dry by blotting or patting, especially between your toes.
- Use a moisturizer daily on your feet to keep dry skin from itching or cracking. Don’t moisturize between the toes, as that could encourage a fungal infection.
- Carefully cut your toenails straight across and file the edges. Don’t cut toenails too short, as this could lead to ingrown toenails.
- Never try to fix corns or calluses yourself. No “bathroom surgery” or medicated pads. Always visit your foot and ankle doctor for treatment.
- Wear clean, dry socks. Change them daily. Avoid the wrong type of socks. Avoid tight elastic bands. Don’t wear thick or bulky socks (they can fit poorly).
- Wear socks to bed. If your feet get cold at night, wear socks. Never use a heating pad or hot water bottle.
- Shake out your shoes and feel the inside before wearing. Your feet may not be able to feel a foreign object, so check inside your shoes before putting them on.
- Keep your feet warm and dry. Don’t let your feet get wet in snow or rain.
- Never walk barefoot. Always wear shoes or slippers. You could step on something and get a scratch or cut.
- Take care of your diabetes. Keep your blood sugar levels under control.
- Get periodic foot exams. Seeing your foot and ankle doctor on a regular basis can help prevent the foot complications for diabetes.
Please call (626) 447-2184 (Arcadia) or (818) 408-2800 (San Fernando) to speak to a foot and ankle specialist about your foot and/or ankle needs.