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Do you want to lower your chances of getting foot problems that can lead to the loss of a toe, foot, or leg? This booklet tells you how. It's all about taking care of your feet. Even if you have had diabetes for a long time, this booklet can help you learn more. Use it to help you make your own plan for taking care of your feet. Share your plan with your doctor and health care team and get their help when you need it.

Reminder: Call your Chiropodist right away if a cut, blister, or bruise on your foot does not begin to heal after a few days.

Why is foot care important?

Over time, diabetes can cause you to lose feeling in your feet. When you lose feeling in your feet, you may not feel a pebble inside your sock or a blister on your foot, which can lead to cuts and sores. Diabetes also can lower the amount of blood flow in your feet. Numbness and less blood flow in the feet can lead to foot problems.

Foot care is very important for all people with diabetes, but even more so if you have:

  • pain or loss of feeling in your feet (numbness, tingling)
  • changes in the shape of your feet or toes
  • sores, cuts, or ulcers on your feet that do not heal

If you take care of your feet every day, you can lower your chances of losing a toe, foot, or leg. Managing your blood sugar can also help keep your feet healthy.

Work with your health care team to make a diabetes plan that fits your lifestyle and includes foot care. The team may include your doctor, a diabetes educator, a nurse, a foot doctor (podiatrist) and other specialists who can help you manage your diabetes.

1. Check your feet every day.

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  • Check your feet for cuts, sores, red spots, swelling, and infected toenails. You may have foot problems, but feel no pain in your feet.
  • Check your feet each evening when you take off your shoes.
  • If you have trouble bending over to see your feet, use a mirror to help. You can also ask a family member or caregiver to help you.


2. Wash your feet every day.

  • Wash your feet in warm, not hot, water. Do not soak your feet because your skin will get dry.
  • Before bathing or showering, test the water to make sure it is not too hot. You can use a thermometer (90° to 95° F is safe) or your elbow to test the water.
  • Use talcum powder or cornstarch to keep the skin between your toes dry to prevent infection.

3. Keep the skin soft and smooth.

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  • Rub a thin coat of lotion, cream, or petroleum jelly on the tops and bottoms of your feet.
  • Do not put lotion or cream between your toes because this might cause an infection.

4. Smooth corns and calluses gently.

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  • Thick patches of skin called corns or calluses can grow on the feet. If you have corns or calluses, check with your foot doctor about the best way to care for them.
  • If your doctor tells you to, use a pumice stone to smooth corns and calluses after bathing or showering. A pumice stone is a type of rock used to smooth the skin. Rub gently, only in one direction, to avoid tearing the skin.
  • Do not cut corns and calluses.
  • Do not use razor blades, corn plasters, or liquid corn and callus removers - they can damage your skin and cause an infection.

5. If you can see, reach, and feel your feet, trim your toenails regularly.

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  • Trim your toenails with nail clippers after you wash and dry your feet.
  • Trim your toenails straight across and smooth the corners with an emery board or nail file. This prevents the nails from growing into the skin. Do not cut into the corners of the toenail.
  • Have a foot doctor trim your toenails if:
    • you cannot see or feel your feet
    • you cannot reach your feet
    • your toenails are thick or yellowed
    • your nails curve and grow into the skin

6. Wear shoes and socks at all times.

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  • Wear shoes and socks at all times. Do not walk barefoot when indoors or outside. It is easy to step on something and hurt your feet. You may not feel any pain and not know that you hurt yourself.
  • Make sure you wear socks, stockings, or nylons with your shoes to keep from getting blisters and sores.
  • Choose clean, lightly padded socks that fit well. Socks that have no seams are best.
  • Check inside your shoes before you put them on. Make sure the lining is smooth and that there are no objects in your shoes.
  • Wear shoes that fit well and protect your feet.

7. Protect your feet from hot and cold.

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  • Wear shoes at the beach and on hot pavement. You may burn your feet and may not know it.
  • Put sunscreen on the top of your feet to prevent sunburn.
  • Keep your feet away from heaters and open fires.
  • Do not put hot water bottles or heating pads on your feet.
  • Wear socks at night if your feet get cold.
  • Wear lined boots in the winter to keep your feet warm.

8. Keep the blood flowing to your feet.

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  • Put your feet up when you are sitting.
  • Wiggle your toes for 5 minutes, 2 or 3 times a day. Move your ankles up and down and in and out to help blood flow in your feet and legs.
  • Do not cross your legs for long periods of time.
  • Do not wear tight socks, elastic, or rubber bands around your legs.
  • Do not smoke. Smoking can lower the amount of blood flow to your feet. Ask for help to stop smoking. Call 1-800-QUITNOW (1-800-784-8669).

9. Be more active.

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  • Being active improves blood flow to the feet. Ask your health care team for safe ways to be more active each day. Move more by walking, dancing, swimming, or going bike riding.
  • If you are not very active, start slowly.
  • Find safe places to be active.
  • Wear athletic shoes that give support and are made for your activity.

10. Be sure to ask your health care team to:

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  • check your feet at every visit
  • check the sense of feeling and pulses in your feet at least once a year
  • show you how to care for your feet
  • refer you to a foot doctor if needed
  • tell you if special shoes would help protect your feet

Reminder: Cut out the foot care tip sheet in this booklet and put it on your bathroom or bedroom wall or your nightstand to remind you to take care of your feet.


Toronto, ON Chiropodist Academy Foot and Orthotic


Across from the Broadview Subway Professional  Family  Foot  Care