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Diabetes Health Center

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Diabetes Foot Care

Footwear Test

Use this simple test to see if your shoes fit correctly:

  • Stand on a piece of paper. (Make sure you are standing and not sitting, because your foot changes shape when you stand.)
  • Trace the outline of your foot.
  • Trace the outline of your shoe.
  • Compare the tracings: Is the shoe too narrow? Is your foot crammed into the shoe? The shoe should be at least 1/2 inch longer than your longest toe and as wide as your foot.

Proper Shoe Choices

The following types of shoes are best for people with diabetes:

  • Closed toes and heels
  • Leather uppers without a seam inside
  • At least 1/2 inch extra space at the end of your longest toe
  • Inside of shoe should be soft with no rough areas
  • Outer sole should be made of stiff material
  • Shoes should be at least as wide as your feet

Tips for Foot Care in Diabetes

  • Don't wait to treat a minor foot problem if you have diabetes. Follow your health care provider's guidelines and first aid guidelines.
  • Report foot injuries and infections to your health care provider immediately.
  • Check water temperature with your elbow, not your foot.
  • Do not use a heating pad on your feet.
  • Do not cross your legs.
  • Do not self-treat your corns, calluses, or other foot problems. Go to your health care provider or podiatrist to treat these conditions.

When to Talk to Your Doctor About Foot Care

Your health care provider should examine your feet at each visit. In addition, see your health care provider if you have any of the following problems with your feet:

  • Athlete's foot (cracking between the toes)
  • Sores or wounds on your feet
  • Ingrown toenails
  • Increasing numbness or pain
  • Calluses
  • Redness
  • Blackening of skin
  • Bunions
  • Infection
  • Hammer toes (when the middle joint of toes is permanently bent downward)

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Michael Dansinger, MD on May 14, 2015
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