10 Ways For Diabetics To Take Care Of Their Feet

Diabetes is among the most common ailments globally, affecting over a trillion people. 

Studies show that more than 10% of the global population has diabetes.

Diabetic feet are one of the most common complications, and diabetic foot is among the leading causes of physical disability globally. 

Yet, it is among the under-realized and discussed health issues.

Keep reading to learn more about diabetic foot care with our tips on how to look after your feet if you have diabetes.

Why is foot care so important for diabetics?

People living with diabetes understand the importance of monitoring blood glucose levels. However, many people continue to neglect foot care. That is why most guidelines say that those with diabetes must regularly inspect their feet.

Below are a few reasons why foot care is so crucial for people with diabetes; it is vital to identify early diabetes feet:

Peripheral neuropathy means poor sensation

Most people with diabetes might not even realize when they developed some foot infection. It is because many are not even aware of their neuropathy. 

However, most people with diabetes would develop the condition, resulting in compromised foot sensation.

Studies suggest that neuropathy is responsible for almost half of all cases of diabetic foot syndrome or diabetes on foot.

Poor blood flow due to peripheral vascular disease

Diabetes causes damage to the internal smooth layer of blood vessels. This significantly increases the risk of clots or plaque formation. 

Not only that, diabetes makes arteries less elastic. All this reduces peripheral blood flow. Reduced blood flow and oxygen supply mean slower wound healing and higher infection risk.

Reduced immunity and local immune responses

Those living with diabetes are prone to systemic infections. However, they also have reduced local immune responses. It means that even minor cuts and wounds may readily get infected. 

Also, the infection may spread readily, requiring severe measures, including amputation. 

Higher risk of antibiotic-resistant infections

These days, most bacterial infections are not difficult to manage with antibiotic therapy. However, antibiotics often do not work as intended in those with diabetes. 

Firstly, antibiotics fail to reach the wound due to poor blood flow. Secondly, those living with diabetes have more severe infections resistant to antibiotics.

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What are common diabetic foot problems? 

Here are some common foot problems that individuals with diabetes may experience:

  • Peripheral Neuropathy: This results in lost sensation, and thus one may not feel minor cuts and injuries. That is why it is the most common cause of diabetic foot.
  • Foot Ulcers: Ulcers are open sores that often occur on the bottom of the foot. Due to reduced sensation and impaired healing, ulcers can develop from minor cuts, blisters, or pressure points. 
  • Infections: Diabetic individuals are more susceptible to infections. Any open wound or ulcer, no matter how small, can become infected. 
  • Calluses: Diabetes can cause an abnormal distribution of weight and pressure on the feet. Calluses may form as a result of excessive friction and pressure. If not adequately managed, calluses can become thick and painful, increasing the risk of ulceration.
  • Fungal Infections: Diabetes can make individuals more prone to fungal infections, such as athlete’s foot (tinea pedis) or fungal nail infections (onychomycosis). In those living with diabetes, fungal infection is more likely to be complicated by secondary bacterial infection.
  • Ingrown Toenails: Improper nail trimming or tight footwear can lead to ingrown toenails, where the nail grows into the surrounding skin. 
  • Charcot Foot: Charcot’s foot is a severe complication of diabetes that affects the foot’s bones, joints, and soft tissues. A loss of sensation, swelling, and deformity characterizes it. Without proper care, it can result in fractures and joint instability.
  • Dry Skin: Diabetes can lead to dry skin on the feet, increasing the risk of cracks and fissures. If the skin becomes excessively dry, it can lead to painful sores or infections.

It is important for individuals with diabetes to be vigilant about their diabetic foot care, regularly inspect their feet, and seek prompt medical attention if they notice any abnormalities, such as wounds, infections, or changes in sensation.

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10 tips to care for your feet as a diabetic 

When living with diabetes, prevention is the best strategy. Below are simple ways of foot care when living with diabetes. These methods are pretty simple. The secret to preventing diabetic feet is practicing them regularly and identifying diabetic toes early.

1) Inspect your feet daily

Make it a habit to check your feet daily. Do not count on your senses, as they might deceive. Use a mirror to see the bottom of your feet. 

This is something a person living with diabetes must do daily at a fixed time. It is also a good idea to ask family members to help.

2) Daily wash your feet

Wash your feet every day, but ensure that the water is warm and not hot. Remember that your senses are compromised, so check the water temperature carefully. 

It is also good to use a thermometer, especially when living with severe neuropathy. After washing feet, apply lotion with antiseptic properties to prevent infection.

3) Never go barefoot

Those living with diabetes should avoid going barefoot.

4) Choose shoes wisely

Avoid very tight-fitting shoes. Further, be careful with new shoes and take time to break into the new shoes.

5) Trim your toenails

Keep your toenails trimmed but avoid trimming them too short. There should not be any sharp edges. Diabetic toes can quickly progress to something severe.

6) Do not treat corn and calluses at home

This may cause infection.

7) Keep your feet warm

This will keep blood flowing and boost local immunity.

8) Exercise

Exercise is the best way to enhance vascular health and improve foot blood flow. But, of course, choose activities wisely.

9) Keep blood glucose in check

Most importantly, remember that at the end of the day, diabetic foot results from poorly controlled diabetes. It is not something that occurs overnight. It is a result of years of neglect. Use different ways to lower blood glucose, like diet, exercise, and supplements.

10) Nutrition therapy

This means ensuring adequate intake of micronutrients like vitamin C, D, chromium, vitamin B-complex, and other micronutrients. Using supplements specifically created for diabetes patients may also help.

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When to see a podiatrist 

Podiatrists are specialists who deal with problems with feet. These specialists are particularly good for helping with diabetic feet. Therefore, do not wait for things to worsen; consult a podiatrist early.

  • When there is continuous pain in the feet or a tingling sensation.
  • Inability to do exercise due to pain in legs.
  • Loss of sensation in feet.
  • Loss of hair on feet and toes.
  • Dry and cracked skin that would not respond to commonly available moisturizers.
  • Yellow toenails.
  • Fungal infection of feet or toes.
  • Blisters, corn, ingrown toenails, sore, ulcer, etc.


Diabetic foot care is of utmost importance for individuals living with diabetes. Despite being a leading cause of physical disability globally, diabetic foot issues often go unnoticed and under-discussed.

The primary factors contributing to diabetic foot problems are peripheral neuropathy and peripheral arterial disease. 

Peripheral neuropathy leads to reduced foot sensation, making it difficult for individuals to detect injuries or infections. 

Peripheral arterial disease causes poor blood flow to the feet, resulting in slower wound healing and a higher risk of infection.

Common diabetic foot problems include peripheral neuropathy, foot ulcers, infections, calluses, fungal infections, ingrown toenails, Charcot foot, and dry skin. 

Regular foot examinations, good hygiene practices, proper nail care, appropriate footwear, and maintaining optimal blood glucose levels are crucial diabetic foot care strategies to prevent these complications.

By prioritizing diabetic foot care and seeking professional guidance, individuals with diabetes can lessen the risk of diabetic foot problems, improve overall foot health, and reduce the likelihood of severe complications that may lead to disability or amputation.

Finally, remember that food care will only work if efforts are made to keep blood glucose levels within acceptable limits. There are many ways to do so, like regularly taking medications, exercising, dietary measures, and using supplements.

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