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Diabetes Foot Care Guidelines

Diabetic foot care when living with diabetes is crucial, given the potential risks associated with even minor injuries. Diabetes can lead to nerve damage, causing a loss of sensation in your feet, and it can also impede blood flow, making it difficult for wounds to heal and infections to be resisted. Consequently, the presence of a foreign object in your shoe may go unnoticed, potentially resulting in blisters, sores, and serious infections, putting you at risk for amputation.

To safeguard against severe foot complications that may result in the loss of toes, feet, or legs, adhere to these essential guidelines:

  • Conduct a daily foot inspection. Look out for cuts, blisters, redness, swelling, or nail issues. Use a hand mirror for a thorough examination, and promptly contact your doctor if you observe any abnormalities.
  • Bathe your feet in lukewarm water. Ensure your feet are clean by washing them daily with lukewarm water, as you would for a newborn.
  • Handle your feet with care during bathing. Utilize a soft washcloth or sponge, and dry your feet meticulously by blotting or patting, paying particular attention to the spaces between your toes.
  • Apply moisturizer to your feet, excluding the areas between your toes, to prevent dry skin from cracking or itching. Moisturizing between the toes can promote fungal infections.
  • Trim your nails cautiously, cutting them straight across and smoothing the edges. Avoid cutting nails too short to prevent ingrown toenails, and consult your doctor if you have any concerns about your nail health.
  • Refrain from self-treating corns or calluses. Avoid attempting any ‘bathroom surgery’ or using medicated pads. Seek appropriate treatment from your healthcare provider.
  • Wear clean, dry socks, changing them daily. Consider using specially designed diabetic socks with extra cushioning, no elastic tops, higher ankle coverage, and moisture-wicking fibers.
  • Don’t wear socks to bed if your feet tend to get cold at night. Never use a heating pad or hot water bottle.
  • Always inspect the insides of your shoes for foreign objects before wearing them, as reduced sensation may prevent you from noticing potential hazards.
  • Keep your feet warm and dry, especially in snowy or rainy conditions, by wearing appropriate socks and shoes.
  • Consider using an antiperspirant on the soles of your feet if you experience excessive sweating.
  • Avoid walking barefoot, even at home, to prevent accidental injuries.
  • Maintain strict control over your diabetes and blood sugar levels.
  • Quit smoking to prevent restricted blood flow in your feet.
  • Undergo regular foot examinations by a qualified foot and ankle surgeon to prevent diabetes-related foot complications.

Why Opt for a Foot and Ankle Surgeon? 

Foot and ankle surgeons are the foremost specialists in foot and ankle care, offering comprehensive expertise in the field. As doctors of podiatric medicine, they possess in-depth knowledge and training specific to foot and ankle health, qualifying them to perform a wide range of surgeries, including those necessary for diabetic foot care.

For more insights on foot care for individuals living with diabetes, consider watching the informative animated video ‘Foot Care for Those Living with Diabetes’.


Dr. Kris Dinucci