diabetes and feet

Foot Health and Diabetes

Diabetes can have a significant impact on foot health. This condition can lead to various foot-related complications that require careful monitoring and preventive measures. People with diabetes are more prone to developing foot problems due to nerve damage (neuropathy) and poor blood circulation. Here are some key points to consider:

  1. Neuropathy: High blood sugar levels over time can damage the nerves, leading to a condition called diabetic neuropathy. Neuropathy can result in loss of sensation in the feet, making it difficult to feel pain, temperature changes, or injuries. This puts individuals at risk of not noticing cuts, blisters, or injuries that can lead to infections.

  2. Poor Circulation: Diabetes can also affect blood circulation, leading to reduced blood flow to the extremities, including the feet. Poor circulation slows down the healing process, making it more challenging for wounds and infections to heal properly.

  3. Common Foot Problems:

    • Diabetic Foot Ulcers: Wounds or sores that don't heal properly can develop into ulcers, which can become infected and pose serious health risks.
    • Infections: Due to reduced sensation and impaired immune response, minor cuts or blisters can quickly become infected.
    • Charcot Foot: This is a condition where the bones in the foot weaken and fracture due to nerve damage and lack of sensation. It can cause the foot to change shape and develop deformities.
    • Corns and Calluses: These can form more easily in people with diabetes due to altered pressure on the feet.
  4. Preventive Measures:

    • Foot Care: Regularly inspect your feet for cuts, blisters, redness, or any changes. Clean your feet daily with mild soap and lukewarm water. Gently pat them dry and apply moisturizer, avoiding between the toes.
    • Proper Footwear: Wear well-fitting, comfortable shoes that provide protection and support. Avoid wearing open-toed shoes and sandals.
    • Foot Protection: Avoid walking barefoot, especially outdoors. Protect your feet from extreme temperatures and sharp objects.
    • Trim Nails Carefully: Trim your toenails straight across and avoid cutting too close to the skin to prevent ingrown toenails.
    • Control Blood Sugar: Proper diabetes management, including maintaining target blood sugar levels, can help prevent or slow down the progression of foot-related complications.
  5. Regular Check-ups: People with diabetes should have regular foot exams by a healthcare professional. They can identify any issues early and provide appropriate guidance.

If you have diabetes, it's important to prioritize foot care as part of your overall diabetes management plan. Any foot problems, even minor ones, should be addressed promptly to prevent more serious complications. Consulting with a healthcare professional, such as a podiatrist or endocrinologist, can help you develop a comprehensive foot care routine that suits your individual needs.

 Damage is more likely if:

  • you've had diabetes for a long time
  • bgl's have been high for a long time
  • you're inactive
  • you smoke

Visit a medical professional to get bi-annual checkups. Your doctor, podiatrist or diabetes educator will check the shape of your foot, reflexes, toenails to look at blood circulation and ask about your footwear to ensure it's not causing calluses, corns or cracks where infection can get in.

Some tips for caring for your feet include:

  • wash and dry carefully, and check between toes
  • check for bruising, redness, splints and blisters 
  • cut your toenails straight across (not into the corners)
  • use moisturisers to keep skin hydrated (but don't put it between your toes)
  • never use over the counter corn cures
  • avoid tight socks or knee high stockings - anything with prominent seams
  • don't put your feet on heaters, hot water bottles, or any direct heat. Keep them warm with slippers
  • always wear shoes
Back to blog