7 Tips for Diabetes Foot Care

Stay on your toes

If you have diabetes, keeping blood glucose in the target range is essential to prevent diabetic foot and other complications. Here are seven ways to keep your feet in great shape.

1. Examine feet daily

Check your feet every day for cuts, red spots, swelling, signs of infection, blisters, or ulcers. Ulcers can be especially difficult to treat and are a serious complication of diabetes. Seek medical advice early if there is any kind of foot injury, including sores, ingrown toenails, corns or calluses, warts, warm spots, and athlete’s foot. If you cannot see the bottoms of your feet, try using a mirror. You can also ask someone for help. Remember not to scratch any lesions you might find.

2. Keep feet clean and dry

Wash your feet daily in lukewarm water (use your elbow to test the water temperature). Apply talcum powder or cornstarch to keep the skin dry, especially between the toes.

3. Keep skin soft

Apply moisturizer after bathing. Don’t put lotion or cream between your toes, which can lead to infection.

4. Cut your nails carefully

Trim toenails with nail clippers straight across and file the corners. See a podiatrist if you have any trouble with nail care.

5. Always wear shoes

Don’t walk barefoot, even indoors. Wear properly fitting shoes or slippers—never sandals or flip-flops—with loose-fitting socks. Check inside your shoes before wearing them. Make sure the lining is smooth and there are no objects inside.

6. Rough spots? See your doctor

Don’t treat corns or calluses yourself. Consult with your doctor, and never use medicated pads or liquid removers.

7. Don’t smoke

Smoking reduces blood circulation to your feet. People who smoke or who have a history of lower-extremity complications, loss of protective sensation, structural abnormalities, or peripheral arterial disease should be referred to foot care specialists for preventive care and surveillance.

Meet Our Writer

HealthAfter50 was published by the University of California, Berkeley, School of Public Health, providing up-to-date, evidence-based research and expert advice on the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of a wide range of health conditions affecting adults in middle age and beyond. It was previously part of Remedy Health Media's network of digital and print publications, which also include HealthCentral; HIV/AIDS resources The Body and The Body Pro; the UC Berkeley Wellness Letter; and the Berkeley Wellness website. All content from HA50 merged into Healthcentral.com in 2018.