Diabetes can damage the nerves and blood vessels in your feet. This damage can cause numbness and reduce feeling in your feet. As a result, your feet may not heal well if they are injured. If you get a blister, you may not notice and it may get worse.
Check your feet every day. Inspect the tops, sides, soles, heels, and between your toes. Look for:
- Dry and cracked skin
- Blisters or sores
- Bruises or cuts
- Redness, warmth, or tenderness
- Firm or hard spots
If you cannot see well, ask someone else to check your feet.
Call your health care provider right way about any foot problems you have. DO NOT try to treat these problems yourself. Even small sores or blisters can become big problems if infection develops or they DO NOT heal. Foot ulcers are a common reason for hospital stays for people with diabetes.
Wash your feet every day with lukewarm water and mild soap. Strong soaps may damage the skin.
- Check the temperature of the water with your hand or elbow first.
- Gently dry your feet, especially between the toes.
- Use lotion, petroleum jelly, lanolin, or oil on dry skin. DO NOT put lotion, oil, or cream between your toes.
Ask your health care provider to show you how to trim your toenails.
- Soak your feet in lukewarm water to soften your toenails before trimming.
- Cut the nails straight across. Curved nails are more likely to become ingrown.
- Make sure the edge of each nail does not press into the skin of the next toe.
Your foot doctor (podiatrist) can trim your toenails if you are unable to.
Most people with diabetes should have corns or calluses treated by a foot doctor. If your doctor has given you permission to treat corns or calluses on your own:
- Gently use a pumice stone to remove corns and calluses after a shower or bath, when your skin is soft.
- DO NOT use medicated pads or try to shave or cut corns and calluses away at home.
If you smoke, stop. Smoking decreases blood flow to your feet. Talk to your provider or nurse if you need help quitting.
DO NOT use a heating pad or hot water bottle on your feet. DO NOT walk barefoot, especially on hot pavement or hot, sandy beaches. Remove your shoes and socks during visits to your provider so that they can check your feet.