Take Care of Your Feet for a Lifetime

A Guide for People with Diabetes

You can take care of your feet!

        Do you want to avoid serious foot problems that can lead to a toe, foot, or leg amputation?  Take Care of Your Feet for a Lifetime tells you how.  It's all about taking good care of your feet.

         Foot care is very important for each person with diabetes, but especially if your have:

  • Loss of feeling in your feet.
  • Changes in the shape of your feet.
  • Foot ulcers or sores that do not heal.

        Nerve damage can cause you to lose feeling in your feet.  You may not feel a pebble insude your sock that is causing a sore.  You may not feel a blister caused by poorly fitting shoes.  Foot injuries such as these can cause ulcers which may lead to amputation.

1.  Take Care of your Diabetes.

  • Make healthy lifestyle choices to help keep your bllod glucose (sugar) , blood pressure, and cholesterol close to normal.  Doing so may help prevent or delay diabetes-related foot problems as well as kidney disease.
  • Work with your health care team to make a diaetes plan that fits your lifestyle.  The team may include your doctor, a diabetes educator, a nurse, a dietitian, a foot care doctor called a podiatrist (pah-DI-ah-trist), and other specialists.
    • Know when to get checks of your A1C*, blood pressure, and cholesterol. 
    • Know haow and when to test your blood glucose.
    • Take your medications as prescribed.
    • Eat regular meals that contain a variety of healthy, low-fat. high-fiber foods incluiding fruits and vegetables each day.
    • Get physical activity each day.
    • Stop Smoking.
    • Follow your foot care plan.
    • Keep your doctor;s visits and have your feet, eyes, and kidneys checked at least once a year.
    • Visit your dentist twice a year.

                *A1C is a measure of your blood glucose over a 3                   month period.

2.  Check your feet every day.

  • You may have serious foot problems, but feel no pain. Check your feet of cuts, sores, red spots, swelling, and infected toenails.  Find a time (evening is best) to check your feet each day.
  •  Make checking  your feet part of your every day routine.
  • If you have trouble bending over to see your feet, use a plastic mirror to help.  You can also ask a family member or caregiver to help you.

3.   Wash your feet everyday.

  •    Wash your feet in warm, not not, water.  Do not soak            your feet, because your skin will get dry.

  •     Dry your feet well.  Be sure to dry between your toes.           Use talcum powder or cornstarch to keep the skin                 between your toes dry.

    Keep the skin soft and smooth.

  •       Rub a thin coat of skin 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.

    Smooth corns and calluses gently.

  •       If you have corns and calluses, check with your foot             care specialist 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.  Don't use razor blades,          corn plasters, or liquid corn and callus removers -- they        can damage your skin.

6.  Trim your toenails each week or when needed.

  •   Trim your toenails with clippers after you wash and dry          your feet.
  •   Trim your toenails straight accross and smooth them with     an emery board or nail file.
  •   Don't cut into the corners of the toenail.
  •   If you can't see well, if your toenails are thick or yellowed,   or if your nails curve and grow into the skin, have a foot       care doctor trim them for you.

7.  Wear shoes and socks at all time.

  • Wear shoes and socks at all times,  Do Not Walk Barefoot -- Not even indoors -- because it is easy to step on something or stump your toe and hurt your feet.
  • Always wear socks, stockings, or nylons with your shoes to help avoid blisters and sores.
  • Choose clean, lightly padded socks that fit well,  Socks that have no seams are best.
  • Check the insides of your shoes before you put them on to be sure the lining is smooth and that there are no objects in them.
  • Wear shoes that fit well and protect your feet.

8.  Protect your feet from hot and cold.

  • Wear shoes at the beach or on hot pavement.
  • Put sunscreen on the top of your feet to prevent sunburn.
  • Keep your feet away from rediators and open fires.
  • Do not put hot water bottles or heating pads on your feet.
  • Wear socks at night if your feet get cold.  Lines boots are good in winter to keep your feet warm.
  • Check your feet often in cold weather to avoid frostbite.

9.  Keep the blood flowing to your feet.


  • 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 improve blood flow to your feet and legs.
  • Don't cross your legs for long periods of time.
  • Don't wear tight socks, elastic or rubber bands, or garters around your legs.
  • Don't smoke.  Smoking reduces blood flow to your feet.  Ask for help to stop smoking.
  • Work with your health care team to control your A1C (blood glucose), blood pressure and cholesterol.
  • Put your feet up when you are sitting.

10.  Be more Active.

Ask your doctor to help you plan a daily activity program that is right for you.

  • Walking, dancing, swimming, and bicycling are good forms of exercise that are wasy on the feet.
  • Avoid activities that are hard on the feet, such as running and jumping.
  • Always include a short warm-up and cool-down period.
  • Wear athletic shoes that fit well and that provide good support.

11.  Be sure to ask your doctor or podiatrist to:

  • Check the sense of feeling and pulses in your feet at least once a year.
  • Tell you if you are likely to have serious foot problems. If you do have serious foot problems, your feet should be checked at every visit to your doctor.
  • Show you how to care for your feet. 
  • Refer you to a foot care doctor (podiatrist) if needed.
  • Decide if special shoes would help your feet stay healthy.

12.  Get started NOW.

  • Begin taking good care of your feet today.

  • Set a time every day to check your feet.
  • Note the date of your next visit to the doctor.
  • Print out this "Foot Care Tip Sheet" and put it on your bathroom or bedroom wall or nightstand as a reminder.
  • Print out and complete the "To Do" list.  Get started now.  
  • Set a date for uying the things you need to take care of your feet:  Nail clippers, pumice stone, emery board, skin lotion, talcum powder, plastic mirror, socks, athletic shoes, and slippers.
  • Most important, stick with your foot care program... and give yourself a special treat such as a new pair of lightly padded socks with no seams.  You Deserve it!


 Make sure to call your Doctor right away if a cut, sore, blister, or bruise on your foot does not begin to heal after ONE (1) day.

TIP:   Before bathing or showering, test the water to make sure it is not too hot.  You can use a thermometer (90 degrees to 95 degrees is safe) or your elbow.


 Make sure to call your Doctor right away if a cut, sore, blister, or bruise on your foot does not begin to heal after ONE (1) day.

TIP:  Put lotion on the tops and bottoms of your feet.


 Make sure to call your Doctor right away if a cut, sore, blister, or bruise on your foot does not begin to heal after ONE (1) day.

How to take care of your diabetic feet.

To-Do List