How to look after your feet when you have diabetes

Nov 9, 2020

Diabetes mellitus is a universal health problem with a growing prevalence. There are many myths about diabetes which can make it hard to differentiate the facts from fiction.

To cut through the confusion, here are some common misconceptions addressed:

  • There is no such thing as “mild” diabetes - you either have it or you do not. 
  • There are a number of different kinds of diabetes. The most common are type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes. 
  • All types of diabetes are serious, complex and can lead to complications if mismanaged. 
  • Diabetes can negatively affect your quality of life and reduce life expectancy.
  • Being overweight or obese is does not automatically mean you WILL get diabetes. It is definitely a risk factor but having a healthy BMI doesn’t mean you won’t develop diabetes. 

If you have diabetes, common foot problems can lead to infection and serious complications, including amputation. Podiatrists can help prevent this risk by catching it early, which is especially important for people who have poor circulation and/or neuropathy.

Here are my go-to tips for looking after your feet with diabetes:

  • Check your feet daily for sores, blisters, redness, calluses or any other problems, especially if you have poor blood flow. 
  • Always wear socks or stockings that fit well and have soft elastic. 
  • Wear good-fitting, closed-toed shoes or slippers made out of canvas or leather. Avoid sandals and do not walk barefoot, even around the house. 
  • Break new shoes in slowly. 
  • If you have a deformity, specialty stores can help you find an extra wide fitting shoe.
  • Get in the habit of checking your shoes for foreign objects, loose lining and general wear and tear.
  • Wear sunscreen on your feet, it is a common area for sunburn.
  • See a podiatrist at least once a year. We will check your feet, answer any questions and place you in a risk category. Everything will be noted and filed, so if there are any changes, we can inform your doctor and create a treatment plan.

With the right shoes, correct hygiene habits and a regular checkup schedule, we can work together to prevent many complications of diabetic neuropathy.