Diabetic Foot Care

Proper foot care to all

Diabetic Patients

At Midwest Podiatry Centers we stress the importance of proper foot care to all patients with diabetes. Lack of sensation in the feet necessitates even closer daily observation. Obesity may prevent the person from being physically able to view their feet so a family member, neighbor, or a visiting nurse may need to perform this important monitoring.

Those at high risk for developing diabetic foot problems include those who have had diabetes for more than 10 years, males, those with poor glucose control, and those with eye, kidney, and heart complications.

All people with diabetes should get regular (at least twice yearly) foot exams by their health care provider and should learn whether they have nerve damage.

To prevent injury to the feet, those at high risk for foot problems, those with known nerve damage, and those with current foot problems should adopt a DAILY routine of checking and caring for the feet as follows.

Diabetic Foot Care:

  • Check your feet every day. Inspect the top, sides, soles, heels, and between the toes.

  • Wash your feet every day with lukewarm water and mild soap, and dry them thoroughly, especially between the toes. Strong soaps may damage the skin. Test the temperature of the water before immersing the feet, because the normal ability to sense hot temperature is often impaired and burns can easily occur.

  • Gently and thoroughly dry the feet, particularly between the toes, because those with diabetes are at high risk for developing infections, especially in moist areas.

  • Avoid applying a heating pad or hot water bottle to your feet. Avoid hot pavement or hot sandy beaches.

  • Wear socks to bed if your feet are cold. In cold weather, wear warm socks and limit your exposure to the cold to prevent frostbite.

  • Apply a thin coat of lubricating oil or lotion after bathing your feet. Because of the skin changes associated with diabetes, the feet may become very dry and may crack, potentially causing an infection. Soften dry skin with lotion, petroleum jelly, lanolin, or oil. Do not put lotion between your toes.

  • Protect your feet with comfortable, well-fitting shoes. Never buy shoes that do not fit properly, expecting the shoes to stretch with time.

woman sitting on grass
  • Neuropathy may prevent you from being able to sense pressure from improperly fitting shoes. Also, check the inside of your shoes for rough areas or torn pieces that can cause irritation.

  • Change your shoes after 5 hours of wearing during the day to alternate pressure points. Avoid wearing thong sandals or stockings with seams that can cause pressure points.

  • Wear clean, dry socks or non-binding pantyhose every day. Socks may provide an additional layer of protection between the shoe and your foot.

  • Wear shoes at all times to protect the feet from injury. Decreased vision and impaired ability to detect pain may cause minor cuts or bumps to go unnoticed.

  • Exercise daily to promote good circulation. Avoid sitting with legs crossed or standing in one position for prolonged periods of time.

  • Ask your health care provider to show you how to care for your toenails. Soak your feet in lukewarm water to soften the nail before trimming. Cut the nail straight across, since curved nails are more likely to become ingrown.

  • Make an appointment with a podiatrist to treat foot problems or to have corns or calluses removed. Never attempt to treat these yourself using over-the-counter treatments.

  • Avoid using antiseptic solutions on your feet since these are very caustic and can cause skin injury.

  • Remove shoes and socks during a visit to your health care provider as a reminder that you need a foot exam.

  • Discontinue smoking because it decreases blood flow to the feet.

  • Report sores, changes and/or signs of infection immediately. Report all blisters, bruises, cuts, sores or areas of redness.

It’s estimated that each day we take an average of 7000 steps….an average of three times around the Earth during a lifetime.

Quick facts from the American Podiatric Medical Association

  • Up to 25% of those with diabetes will develop a foot ulcer
  • Podiatric medical care can reduce amputation rates up to 80%
  • 67% of all lower limb amputations in the U.S result from diabetes
  • 80% of these amputations were preceded by a foot ulcer
  • Diabetes costs the United States alone $245 billion per year
  • $1 invested in care by a podiatrist results in $27 to $51 of savings for the healthcare system, among patients with commercial insurance
  • $1 invested in care by a podiatrist results in $9 to $13 of savings, among Medicare-eligible patients.
  • 60% – 70% of diabetes patients have mild to severe forms of nervous system damage which can cause impaired sensation or pain in the feet
  • Therapeutic footwear can significantly reduce the occurance of foot ulcers and amputations. 

 Visit Midwest Podiatry Centers in Blaine, St. Anthony, Richfield, Minneapolis, Plymouth, Minnetonka, Maple Grove, or Edina for more information on diabetic foot care, or call (612) 788-8778!