Home Icon

5 Tips for Caring for Your Feet When You Have Diabetes

Sep 01, 2023
Living with diabetes means focusing on many aspects of your well-being, including foot health. Yes — foot health. Find out why your feet require so much attention when you have diabetes, and learn our top tips for routine care.

Diabetes is a complex condition that can cause significant problems with your circulatory and nerve health. Many of these issues are first noted in the feet, including altered sensation, skin changes, and non-healing wounds that significantly increase your risk of widespread infection.

Diabetic foot care is one of the many specialty services offered at Metroplex Foot & Ankle, LLP, in Dallas, Garland, and Richardson, Texas.

Our expert team knows that proper diabetes management can feel overwhelming at times, and we’re here to help. Read on as we provide basic information about how diabetes affects your feet, and offer five simple steps you can take to keep them healthy.

Understanding diabetes and your feet

Over time, high blood sugar levels associated with poorly controlled diabetes damage blood vessels, nerves, and organs. The nerves, veins, arteries, and capillaries in your lower legs and feet are often the first to feel the effects of this damage. These circulatory changes also undermine your skin’s health and ability to heal.

Diabetic foot care focuses on preventing diabetes-related health complications by catching problems before you develop issues such as foot ulcers or infections that can lead to tissue death (gangrene) or even amputation.

Five tips for caring for your feet when you have diabetes

Daily foot care is an essential part of every successful diabetes management plan. Follow these five simple steps to help prevent diabetes-related complications:    

1. Check your feet daily

Get in the habit of examining your feet daily. Look for blisters, cuts, sores, swelling, redness, calluses, and ingrown toenails. If you can't see the bottoms of your feet, use a mirror or ask a family member to help.

Given that nerve damage can numb your feet, it’s important to occasionally test the sensitivity of different foot areas using a feather or soft fabric. If you notice any decreased sensation or other problems, consult your Metroplex Foot & Ankle specialist to prevent worsening damage.  

2. Keep your feet clean, dry, and moisturized

Use lukewarm water and mild soap to keep your feet clean. Avoid using hot and cold water, which can dry out your skin; check the water with your hands first since reduced sensation in your feet might prevent you from gauging the temperature.

After washing, pat your feet dry, paying particular attention to the areas between your toes. Moisture in these spaces increases your risk of developing a fungal infection.

Otherwise, apply moisturizer daily to keep the skin soft and healthy. Dry skin breaks down more easily, making it vulnerable to injury. Your Metroplex podiatrist can recommend a moisturizer designed for diabetic foot care.

3. Choose the best footwear

Wear shoes that fit well and support your feet, avoiding those that pinch or rub. Pressure points at the toes, sides, or balls of the feet are vulnerable to skin injury and may eventually develop an ulcer. To help ensure a good fit, shop for new shoes in the afternoon when your feet are at their largest.  

Your choice of socks also matters. Always wear clean socks made of moisture-wicking materials to keep your feet dry. Socks specifically made for diabetes have a seamless design that helps prevent blister formation.

Even when you’re indoors, you should wear shoes or slippers to prevent unintentional injuries, cuts, or wounds you might not feel due to diabetic neuropathy.

4. Manage your diabetes

Maintaining control of your diabetes via diet, exercise, medications, and routine labs, as your primary care physician prescribes, is crucial to preventing diabetes-related foot complications.  

5. Establish podiatry care

Scheduling routine appointments with a podiatrist familiar with diabetic foot care is another essential element in managing diabetes and preventing complications. It’s also crucial to schedule a visit sooner rather than later if you notice any problems. 

Comprehensive diabetic foot care you can trust 

Our expert podiatrists offer guidance, spot potential issues before they become problematic, and provide treatments for foot problems related to diabetes. Schedule your visit today by calling Metroplex Foot & Ankle, LLP, or requesting an appointment online. We have three office locations to serve you in Dallas, Garland, and Richardson, Texas.