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Diabetes Health Center

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Diabetes Foot Care

Protect Your Feet With Shoes and Socks

Never go barefoot. Always protect your feet with shoes, hard-soled slippers, or similar footwear. Wear shoes/boots that will protect your feet from weather conditions like cold and moisture.

Don't wear shoes with high heels and pointed toes. Avoid shoes that leave your toes or heels unprotected, like open-toed shoes or sandals. They leave you vulnerable for injury and infections.

Change your socks daily. Wear natural-fibers: cotton, wool, or a cotton-wool blend. Avoid tight socks.

Try on new footwear with the type of socks you usually wear. Don't wear new shoes for more than an hour at a time.

Look and feel inside your shoes before putting them on to make sure there's nothing irritating in them or rough areas.

Wear special shoes if your doctor recommends them.

Make Sure Your Shoes Fit

Are your shoes too narrow? Is your foot crammed into the shoe? If you have neuropathy (nerve damage), you may not notice that your shoes are too tight.

Use this simple test to check:

  • Stand on a piece of paper in bare feet. (Make sure you're standing and not sitting. Your foot changes shape.)
  • Trace the outline of your foot.
  • Put your shoe on and stand on another piece of paper.
  • Trace the outline of your shoe.
  • Compare the tracings. 

The shoe should be at least 1/2 inch longer than your longest toe and as wide as your foot.

Good Shoe Choices

People with diabetes should wear shoes that have:

  • Closed toes and heels
  • An outer sole made of stiff material
  • Leather uppers without a seam inside
  • Insides that are soft with no rough areas

Cuts, Bumps, Sores, and Burns

Don't wait to treat a minor foot problem if you have diabetes. Report foot injuries and infections right away. Follow your doctor's guidelines and first aid guidelines.

Don't self-treat your corns, calluses, or other foot problems. Go to your doctor or podiatrist to treat these conditions.

Check water temperature with your elbow, not your foot.

Don't use a heating pad on your feet.

Don't cross your legs.

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