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How To Protect Diabetic Feet

It’s pivotal for people with diabetes to take extra care of their feet. Diabetes can lead to severe foot problems, such as ulcers, blisters, infections, or deformities. If left untreated, the infection can spread and become so serious that a foot or ankle surgeon may have to amputate your foot, toes, or a portion of your leg to prevent infection. 

However, the good news is that with proper diabetes management and foot care, you can prevent diabetic foot (or Charcot foot) from worsening. Don’t let your high blood sugar levels stand in the way. There are various solutions to keep your feet safe and healthy. 

We’ll be going over what causes diabetes-related foot complications and the steps you can take to ensure your feet are taken care of. 

What Causes Diabetic Foot?

If you’ve had high blood sugar for a prolonged period, it can cause a type of nerve damage called diabetes-related neuropathy, which commonly occurs in the feet and legs. The condition can lead to loss of feeling in your feet. When you lose feeling and your feet become numb, it can be harder to tell when you’ve developed foot ulcers, blisters, cuts, and more. Untreated wounds may lead to serious infections.

People with diabetes can also develop peripheral artery disease (PAD). PAD can cause blocked or narrowed arteries, which reduces blood flow. Poor circulation can make it harder for foot ulcers and infections to heal.  

Who Might Be at Risk?

Foot problems commonly occur in people with diabetes but can affect those with the following:

  • High blood sugar

  • High blood pressure

  • Nerve damage in the feet

  • Poor blood flow in the feet

  • Weight problems

Common Symptoms 

When experiencing diabetes-related foot issues, you may notice the following symptoms:

  • Loss of feeling in your feet 

  • Pain

  • Tingling sensations

  • Darkened skin on the affected area

If your condition leads to the development of foot ulcers, you may notice the following:

  • Cuts, blisters, calluses, and foot sores

  • Redness and skin discolouration

  • Discharge of fluids

  • Foul odour

  • Swelling 

Now that you know what to keep an eye on, let’s go over the ways you can protect your diabetic feet.

Inspect Your Feet

According to the American Podiatric Medical Association, you should inspect your feet daily. This entails checking your feet for the following:

  • Sores

  • Cracked skin

  • Ingrown toenails

  • Discoloured skin

  • Cuts

  • Swelling

  • Corns and calluses

  • Warts

  • Warm spots

  • Athlete’s foot

Your diabetes can make it difficult to feel any changes in your foot. To get a closer look, place a mirror on the floor so you can see under your foot. You can also ask a family member or loved one to take a look. 

If you notice a cut, blister, or sore on your foot, you should cover it with a bandage. 

Wash Your Feet

Keep your feet clean by washing them every day. Make sure you use warm, soapy water and not hot water. When you test the temperature of the water, use your hands instead of your feet. If the water is too hot when you stick your foot in, the warm temperature can cause damage to your feet if you’re experiencing blisters, sores, or cuts. 

Avoid soaking your feet in the warm water for too long. Otherwise, your skin will become too dry. 

Smooth Out Corns & Calluses 

If you have nerve damage, corns and calluses can become ulcers and lead to complications. If you’ve noticed corns and calluses on your feet, talk to your foot doctor to see what your best treatment option is. 

Your doctor may recommend using a pumice stone to gently smooth out the corns and calluses after a bath or shower. Avoid cutting the corn or callus, and stay away from corn plasters. Cutting and over-the-counter corn removal products can further damage the skin on your foot and lead to infection. 

You can use lotion, cream, or petroleum jelly to keep your feet smooth and soft. Just make sure you don’t put any between your toes. 

Wear Socks & Comfortable Shoes

Do not walk barefoot when you have diabetes, especially while in the house. When you wear socks, ensure that they’re clean and dry. Don’t forget to change them daily and don’t wear tight socks. You should consider socks that are made for people living with diabetes and include:

  • Extra cushioning

  • No seams

  • No elastic tops

  • Higher than the ankle

  • Made from fibers that wick moisture away 

We recommend wearing socks to bed at night to keep your feet warm. Don’t use a heating pad or hot water bottle. 

While socks are important, you need an extra layer of protection to keep your feet safe from cuts or scrapes. Wear shoes or comfortable slippers at all times. You may want to get yourself some new shoes that fit appropriately and add a level of comfort. 

If your foot has changed in shape because of your diabetic feet, you may need shoe inserts or custom orthotics. 

Trim Toenails 

Trim your toenails after your feet have been washed. Ensure you dry your feet before you start trimming. 

When using toenail clippers, trim your toenails straight across and avoid cutting the corners of the nail. You can use a nail file to smooth each nail after they’re trimmed. 

Keep the Blood Flowing 

It’s good to increase the blood flow in your feet. To keep the blood flowing, try the following methods:

  • Prop your feet up while sitting 

  • Wiggle your toes for a few minutes throughout the day and move your ankles up and down, then in and out

  • Avoid tight-fitting socks

  • Quit smoking

Smoking can lower the blood flow to your feet. You should stop your smoking habits, especially if you’re diabetic. An increased blood flow is integral for your foot care. 

Control Your Blood Sugar

If your blood glucose levels are out of control, it can lead to diabetic foot complications. The better control you have over your blood sugar, the healthier you and your feet will be. If you have an infection in your foot while your blood sugar is at an all-time high, your body will have a harder time fighting it. 

A Health Care Visit

Your doctor and diabetes care team can provide information and tips for maintaining the health of your feet. They can also monitor your blood sugar and blood pressure and alert you if they notice any new issues. You should make regular health care visits to stay on top of your foot health.

Are you looking for expert services to aid your diabetes-related foot issue? Make an appointment with a reliable chiropodist in Toronto. Our clinic provides many services that can restore comfort and health to your feet again. Whether you need custom orthotics, inserts, or more, Academy Foot and Orthotics Clinics is here to help you.



Toronto, ON Chiropodist Academy Foot and Orthotic


Across from the Broadview Subway | Professional Family Foot Care