Diabetics typically experience nerve damage, called
peripheral neuropathy, which reduces the sensation in
their feet. Injuries often occur without the patient knowing
it and may be come infected due to weakened resistance.
Poor circulation impairs the healing process and is another
common denominator of this disease, affecting blood flow
in the legs and feet. Foot infection is the most common
reason for hospitalization of people with diabetes and foot
ulcers and non-healing wounds are the primary causes of
“Injuries often occur without the patient
knowing it and may be come infected due to
weakened resistance. ”
amputation in people with diabetes. With proper foot care,
however, it is estimated that as many as half of these
amputations could be prevented.
Charcot Foot A progressive degenerative condition
that affects the joints in the feet. Typically associated with
nerve damage that decreases the ability to sense stimuli,
including pain and decreased muscular movement. As a
result, the joints in the feet are subjected to repeated
trauma and injury, causing progressive damage to the
ligaments, cartilage and bones.
Corns and Calluses A thickening of the skin caused
by too much rubbing or pressure on the same spot.
Dry Skin Can become cracked, allowing germs to enter.
Foot Deformities Bunions, hammertoes and
metatarsal disorders may increase the risk of ulcers and
other foot related problems as the foot continuously rubs
against the shoe.
Ingrown Toenails Occurs when an edge of the nail
grows into the skin, which then gets red and infected. Also
may occur by cutting into the corners of the toenail when
trimming. This condition may be caused by wearing shoes
that are too tight.
Neuropathy Nerve damage which includes tingling,
pain, itching, burning, crawling and pins and needles. Can
also loss of feeling or complete numbness, reducing the
ability to feel pain or discomfort in the feet. Ulcers,
infections and even deformities may occur.
Proper Foot Care:
- Consult a podiatrist first: regarding treatment of
calluses, corns, foot deformities, dry skin, ingrown
toenails and conditions of the foot. Speak with a
healthcare provider and do not attempt to treat
- Daily activity: walking and or swimming are gentle on
the feet. Wear supportive foot wear while exercising. Do
not exercise when experiencing diabetic foot ulcers.
- Dry skin: soften skin by applying cream, lotion or
petroleum jelly to the tops, bottom and heels of the
feet. Do not apply in between the toes as this could
lead to infection.
- Inspect feet regularly: examine the feet for blisters,
cuts, sores and swelling daily, especially between toes.
- Non-restrictive shoes: wear diabetic shoes at all times.
Shoes should maintain cushioned sole and wide toe to
help prevent foot problems. Inspect shoes for pebbles,
sand or other skin irritants before putting them on.
- Trim toenails: toenails should be clipped each week
or as necessary. Do not cut corners; trim straight across
smoothing rough edges.
- Wash feet daily: wash, do not soak, feet in warm water.
When bathing, test hot water with elbow rather than
foot. Diabetic feet have decreased sensitivity to eat which increases the risk of serious foot burns.
Completely dry the feet, especially in between toes.
- Wear socks or stockings: to avoid blisters from shoes
wear socks specifically designed for the diabetic foot. If
foot perspires easily change socks at least twice daily to
maintain proper airflow. Do not walk barefoot on
surfaces, especially hot pavement. To avoid frost bite
check feet in cold weather.