Dr. MJ Bazos MD,
How does diabetes affect my body?
Diabetes causes your blood sugar
levels to be higher than normal. Over time, high blood sugar levels can damage
the blood vessels and nerves in your body. Damage to your nerves means that you
may have burning pain or lose feeling in a part of your body (this is called
diabetic neuropathy). Damage to the blood vessels means that your feet may not
be getting a good supply of
Why do I have to worry more
about my feet?
People with diabetes
often have trouble with their feet. Part of the problem is that the loss of
feeling in your feet makes it hard for you to tell if you have a blister or
sore. If little sores aren't taken care of, they can get worse and turn into
ulcers (serious, deep sores). If these ulcers become infected, you may have to
go to the hospital or, in very serious cases, have a foot amputated (removed).
This handout will give you some tips on how to care for your feet.
How can I avoid problems with my
Keep your blood sugar level as
close to normal as possible. Also, follow your doctor's advice on diet, exercise
and medicine. Here are some other ways to protect your feet:
- Wash your feet every day with lukewarm (not hot)
water and mild soap.
- Dry your feet well, especially between the toes.
Use a soft towel and pat gently; don't rub.
- Keep the skin of your feet smooth by applying a
cream or lanolin lotion, especially on the heels. If the skin is cracked, talk
to your doctor about how to treat it.
- Keep your feet dry by dusting them with
nonmedicated powder before putting on shoes, socks or stockings.
- Check your feet every day. You may need a mirror
to look at the bottoms of your feet. Call your doctor at the very first sign of
redness, swelling, pain that doesn't go away, or numbness
- or tingling in any part of your foot.
- Don't treat calluses, corns or bunions without
talking to your doctor first.
- Cut toenails straight across to avoid ingrown
toenails. It might help to soak your toenails in warm water to soften them
before you cut them.
- Don't let your feet get too hot or too cold.
- Don't go barefoot.
What should I look for
when choosing shoes and socks?
- Don't wear shoes without socks.
- Don't wear sandals or other open-toed shoes.
- Avoid high-heeled shoes and shoes with pointed
- Wear well-padded socks or stockings that are 1/2
inch longer than your longest toe. Don't wear stretch socks, nylon socks, socks
with an elastic band or garter at
- the top, or socks with inside seams.
- Don't wear uncomfortable or tight shoes that rub
or cut into your feet. If you've had problems before because of shoes that
didn't fit, you may want to be fitted for a
- custom-molded shoe.
- Ask your doctor if you need special shoes or
- Shop for new shoes at the end of the day when
your feet are a little swollen. If shoes are comfortable when your feet are
swollen, they'll probably be comfortable all
- Break in new shoes slowly by wearing them for no
more than an hour a day for several days.
- Change socks and shoes every day. Have at least 2
pairs of shoes so you can switch pairs every other day.
- Look inside your shoes every day for things like
gravel or torn linings. These things could rub against your feet and cause
blisters or sores.
will my doctor check my feet? Your
doctor or nurse should check your feet periodically when you go in for a visit.
If you are having any problems, such as loss of feeling, sores or ingrown
toenails, tell your doctor right away.
American Diabetes Association: