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Diabetes Health Center

Caring for Your Feet With Diabetes

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Protect Your Feet With Shoes and Socks

  • Never go barefoot. Always protect your feet by wearing shoes or hard-soled slippers or footwear.
  • Avoid shoes with high heels and pointed toes.
  • Avoid shoes that expose your toes or heels (such as open-toed shoes or sandals). These types of shoes increase your risk for injury and potential infections.
  • Try on new footwear with the type of socks you usually wear.
  • Do not 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 are no foreign objects or rough areas.
  • Avoid tight socks.
  • Wear natural-fiber socks (cotton, wool, or a cotton-wool blend).
  • Wear special shoes if your health care provider recommends them.
  • Wear shoes/boots that will protect your feet from various weather conditions (cold, moisture, etc.).
  • Make sure your shoes fit properly. If you have neuropathy (nerve damage), you may not notice that your shoes are too tight. Perform the "footwear test" described below.

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 for Those With Diabetes

When choosing the proper footwear if you have diabetes:

  • Buy shoes with closed toes and heels.
  • Buy shoes with leather uppers but without a seam inside.
  • Make sure there is at least 1/2 inch extra space at the end of your longest toe.
  • The inside of the shoe should be soft with no rough areas.
  • The outer sole should be made of stiff material.
  • Your shoe should be at least as wide as your foot.

Tips for Foot Safety

To keep you feet safe if you have diabetes:

  • Don't wait to treat a minor foot problem. 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.

Is This Normal? Get the Facts Fast!

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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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