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  • Writer's pictureDavid Weiss, DPM

Proper foot care for the diabetic


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Diabetes can be dangerous to your feet—even a small cut could have serious consequences. Diabetes may cause nerve damage that takes away the feeling in your feet. Diabetes may also reduce blood flow to the feet, making it harder to heal an injury or resist infection.


Because of these problems, you might not notice a pebble in your shoe—you could develop a blister, a sore and then a stubborn infection that might cause amputation of your foot or leg. To avoid serious foot problems that could result in losing a toe, foot or leg, be sure to follow these guidelines.


Inspect your feet daily. Check for cuts, blisters, redness, swelling or nail problems. Use a magnifying hand mirror to look at the bottom of your feet. If possible, have a significant other look at your feet. Call your doctor if you notice anything. (If your eyesight is poor, have someone else do it for you.) Wash your feet in lukewarm (not hot!) water. Keep your feet clean by washing them daily, but only use lukewarm water—the temperature you’d use on a newborn baby. Be gentle when bathing your feet. Wash them using a soft washcloth or sponge. Dry by blotting or patting—and make sure to carefully dry between the toes.


Moisturize your feet—but not between your toes. Use a moisturizer daily to keep dry skin from itching or cracking. In the winter it is common to develop dry skin, so moisturizer is a necessity. But don’t moisturize between the toes—this could encourage a fungal infection.

Cut nails carefully—and straight across. Also, file the edges. Don’t cut them too short, since this could lead to ingrown toenails. If circulation or numbness is a concern have your nails professionally managed at the Podiatrists office. Never trim corns or calluses. No “bathroom surgery”—let your doctor do the job.


Wear clean, dry socks. If you have sweaty feet ,change your socks at midday. I also recommend wearing blended socks that are not 100 percent cotton. Avoid the wrong type of socks and tight elastic bands (they reduce circulation). Don’t wear thick or bulky socks (they can fit poorly and irritate the skin). Wear socks to bed, especially if your feet get cold at night. Never use a heating pad or hot water bottle.


Shake out your shoes and inspect the inside before wearing them. Remember, you may not feel a pebble—so always shake out your shoes before putting them on. Keep your feet warm and dry. Don’t get your feet wet in snow or rain. Wear warm socks and shoes in winter. Never walk barefoot, not even at home! You could step on something and get a scratch or cut.


Take care of your diabetes. Keep your blood sugar levels under control. Don’t smoke, as smoking restricts blood flow in your feet. Get periodic foot exams. See your Podiatrist on a regular basis for an examination to help prevent the foot complications of diabetes.

Diabetic Shoes


Shoes for diabetic patients are made of special protective inserts and soft shoe materials to accommodate for conditions such as neuropathy (numb feet), poor circulation and foot deformities (bunions, hammertoes, etc.). The shoes decrease the chance of foot sores (ulcers), which can be caused by friction and pressure. This may lead to infection, gangrene or even amputation.


The podiatrist may measure the diabetic patient’s foot and have the shoes made at a specialty laboratory. In some cases, he/she will give the patient a prescription to have the shoes custom-made.


David Weiss, DPM, is the owner of Weiss Foot & Ankle Center located at 777 South White Horse Pike, Suite D1 in Hammonton. To find out more about diabetic shoes and foot care or other foot and ankle problems, please contact Dr. David Weiss at (609) 561-2488.


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