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Diabetes: Checking Your Feet - Topic Overview

When you have diabetes, you need to examine your feet every day. Look at all areas of your feet, including your toes. Use a handheld mirror or a magnifying mirror attached to the bathroom wall near the baseboard to inspect your feet. If you can't see well, have someone else use this checklist to examine your feet for you.

Using this checklist helps you remember to examine all areas of your feet.

Checklist for daily foot exams
Check your feet for: What to do if you notice a problem

Skin color:

  • Red
  • Blue or black
  • Redness could point to irritation from shoes or overheating or other early signs of a problem. Do what you can to discover the cause and fix it, such as wearing shoes that fit better.
  • Blue or black areas can mean bruising or blood flow problems. Call your doctor to report them.

Patches where hair is missing

Bald patches may mean irritation from shoes or a blood flow problem. Show the areas to your doctor during your next visit.

Blister

  • Try to discover the cause of the blister. Friction or rubbing against your skin causes blisters. You may need new shoes.
  • Do not break the blister or open it yourself. Leave the skin over the blister intact.
  • Cover the blister with a sterile, nonstick dressing and paper tape.
  • Call your doctor if any blister becomes red, oozes, or is not healing after 4 days.

Break in your skin

  • Gently wash the area with mild soap; blot it dry and cover it with a sterile, nonstick dressing.
  • Call your doctor if any break in the skin becomes red, oozes, or is not healing after 4 days.

Note: Examine the underside of your toes and the area between the toes for breaks in the skin.

Calluses (hardened areas of skin) and corns (pressure sores, usually found on or between toes)

Show the area to your doctor at your next visit. This is very important.

  • Do not use products sold in drugstores for corns, calluses, or other problems.
  • Do not use a pumice stone on calluses unless your doctor or foot doctor (podiatrist) shows you how to use it properly.
  • Do not cut, file, or do anything that may break the skin on your feet.

Peeling skin or tiny blisters between your toes or cracking and oozing of the skin

This may be athlete's foot. Treating athlete's foot early can prevent serious foot infections. See the topic Athlete's Foot for more information.

  • To prevent athlete's foot, wear shower shoes or bathing shoes when you use public showers or pools.
  • Do not treat athlete's foot without first seeing your doctor or podiatrist.

Moisture between your toes

Dry between your toes well. Moisture between your toes provides a good place for bacteria and fungi to grow, causing infection.

Feelings of numbness or "pins and needles"

If you have new numbness or tingling in your feet that does not go away after changing position, call your doctor.

Sore (ulcer)

Do not try to treat a foot ulcer at home. Call your doctor immediately. If you check your feet regularly, you usually will see a problem before it becomes an ulcer.

Ingrown toenail

Do not treat an ingrown toenail at home. Call your doctor for an appointment.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: July 01, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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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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