Diabetic foot care guide

Care for your feet

Do you have diabetes? If so, follow these guidelines to keep your feet at their healthiest.

  1. At any time call your doctor if you find a cut, sore, or blister on your foot that doesn’t begin to heal after 1 day.

  2. Daily: wash, moisturize.

    1. Wash your feet in warm—not hot—water at least once a day. Dry your feet well, especially between the toes.
    2. Rub a thin coat of quality lotion over the tops and bottoms of your feet but never between your toes.
  3. Weekly: check feet, trim nails.

    1. Check your feet daily for cuts, blisters, red spots, and swelling. Use a mirror to check the bottoms of your feet or ask someone for help if you have trouble seeing them.
    2. If you have peripheral neuropathy, vascular disease, or eye disease, don’t cut your own toenails—it can lead to serious injury. Get a professional pedicure.
    3. If you can see and easily reach your toenails, trim them straight across and file the edges with an emery board or nail file.
    4. If your feet are at low risk for problems, use a pumice stone to gently smooth corns and calluses. Never use other over-the-counter products or sharp objects on corns or calluses.
  4. Regularly: check glucose, exam, exercise.

    1. Keep blood glucose levels as close to normal as possible.
    2. Get a professional pedicure and examination from us or from any technician experienced with diabetic foot care, especially if it’s hard for you to see or reach your feet.
    3. Regular exercise can lower blood glucose, improve insulin sensitivity, raise HDL cholesterol, improve blood flow and heart muscle strength, control weight, and provide an overall sense of wellbeing.
    4. Since diabetes can result in a loss of sensation, you might not be able to feel the pain of an injury. Have your doctor regularly check your bare feet to determine whether you are likely to have serious foot problems.
  1. Wear socks and shoes often.

    1. Wear comfortable shoes that fit well and protect your feet. Give away shoes that don’t fit well.
    2. Use soft cotton or wool socks that breathe and keep feet dry.
    3. Before putting on your shoes, check to ensure the lining is smooth and there are no objects inside.
    4. Never walk barefoot. Place slippers beside your bed to wear when you get out of bed.
  2. Protect you feet from hot and cold.

    1. Wear socks at night if your feet get cold.
    2. Wear protective footwear at the beach or on hot pavement.
    3. Don’t test bath water with your feet. Don’t use hot water bottles or heating pads on your feet.
  3. Keep blood flowing to your feet.

    1. When sitting, put your feet up and don’t cross your legs for long periods of time.
    2. Wiggle your toes and move your ankles up and down for 5 minutes several times a day.
  4. Get safe pedicures.

    1. Ask if the nail technician has been trained in diabetic foot care. Ask if they follow special procedures, such as lowering the water temperature for foot soaks and inspecting feet for signs of medical problems.
    2. Ask about sterilization procedures used. Instruments should be sterilized by autoclave. Anything that cannot be sterilized should be used only once then discarded. Water soaks should be provided in disposable tubs or in stainless steel disinfected before each use.
    3. Never use spa chair whirlpool foot baths. Never have acrylic or artificial nails put on your toes.

Printable version (PDF)

Diabetic Foot Care Guide PDF