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Diabetes Health Center

Caring for Your Feet With Diabetes

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When you have diabetes, taking good care of your feet is very important. Poor foot care can lead to serious problems, including possibly having to remove -- or amputate -- the foot or leg.

As a person with diabetes, you are more vulnerable to foot problems because the disease can damage your nerves and reduce blood flow to your feet. The American Diabetes Association has estimated that one in five people with diabetes who seek hospital care do so for foot problems. By taking proper care of your feet, most serious problems can be prevented. It's important that your doctor check your feet at least once a year for any problems.

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Here are some diabetes foot care tips to follow.

Wash and Dry Your Feet Daily

  • Use mild soaps.
  • Use warm water.
  • Pat your skin dry; do not rub. Thoroughly dry your feet, especially between the toes.
  • After washing, use lotion on your feet to prevent cracking. Do not put lotion between your toes.

 

Examine Your Feet Each Day

  • Check the tops and bottoms of your feet. Have someone else look at your feet if you cannot see them.
  • Check for dry, cracked skin.
  • Look for blisters, cuts, scratches, or other sores.
  • Check for redness, increased warmth, or tenderness when touching any area of your feet.
  • Check for ingrown toenails, corns, and calluses.
  • If you get a blister or sore from your shoes, do not "pop" it. Apply a bandage and wear a different pair of shoes.

Take Care of Your Toenails

  • Cut toenails after bathing, when they are soft.
  • Cut toenails straight across and smooth with an emery board.
  • Avoid cutting into the corners of toes.
  • You may want a podiatrist (foot doctor) to cut your toenails.

Be Careful When Exercising

  • Walk and exercise in comfortable shoes.
  • Do not exercise when you have open sores on your feet.

 

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If the level is below 70 or you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.

People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.

Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.

However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.

Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.

One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

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