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Diabetic Foot Care

Diabetes affects the circulation and immune system, which in turn impairs the body’s ability to heal itself. Over time, diabetes can damage sensory nerves (this is known as “neuropathy"), especially in the hands and feet. As a result, people with diabetes are less likely to feel a foot injury, such as a blister or cut. Unnoticed and untreated, even small foot injuries can quickly become infected, potentially leading to serious complications.


As always, prevention is the best medicine. A good daily foot care regimen will help keep your feet healthy.

Start by assembling a foot care kit containing nail clippers, nail file, lotion, a pumice stone and a non-breakable hand mirror. Having everything you need in one place makes it easier to follow this foot care routine every day:

Wash your feet in warm (not hot) water, using a mild soap. Don’t soak your feet, as this can dry your skin.

While your feet are still wet, use a pumice stone to keep calluses under control.

Dry your feet carefully, especially between your toes.

Thoroughly check your feet and between your toes to make sure there are no cuts, cracks, ingrown toenails, blisters, etc. Use a hand mirror to see the bottom of your feet, or ask someone else to check them for you.

Clean cuts or scratches with mild soap and water, and cover with a dry dressing suitable for sensitive skin.

Trim your toenails straight across and file any sharp edges. Don’t cut the nails too short.

Apply an unperfumed lotion to your heels and soles. Wipe off excess lotion that is not absorbed. Don’t put lotion between your toes, as the excessive moisture can promote infection.

Wear fresh clean socks and well-fitting shoes every day. Whenever possible, wear white socks – if you have a cut or sore, the drainage will be easy to see.


Do wear well-fitting shoes. They should be supportive, have low heels (less than 5 cm high) and should not rub or pinch. Shop at a reputable store with knowledgeable staff who can professional fit your shoes.

Do wear socks at night if your feet get cold.

Do elevate your feet when you are sitting.

Do wiggle your toes and move your ankles around for a few minutes several times a day to improve blood flow in your feet and legs.

Do exercise regularly to improve circulation.

Do inspect your feet daily and in particular, feel for skin temperature differences between your feet.

Don’t wear high heels, pointed-toe shoes, sandals (open toe or open heel) or worn-out shoes.

Don’t wear anything tight around your legs, such as tight socks or knee-highs.

Don’t ever go barefoot, even indoors. Consider buying a pair of well-fitting shoes that are just for indoors.

Don’t put hot water bottles or heating pads on your feet.

Don’t cross your legs for long periods of time.

Don’t smoke. Smoking decreases circulation and healing, and significantly increases the risks of amputation.

Don’t have pedicures by non-healthcare professionals.


If you have any swelling, warmth, redness or pain in your legs or feet, see your doctor right away.

If you have any corns (thick or hard skin on toes), calluses (thick skin on bottom of feet), in-grown toenails, warts or slivers, have them treated by your doctor or a foot care specialist (such as a podiatrist, chiropodist or experienced foot care nurse). Do not try to treat them yourself.

Have your bare feet checked by your doctor at least once a year. In addition, ask your doctor to screen you for neuropathy and loss of circulation at least once a year.

Take your socks off at every diabetes-related visit to your doctor and ask him or her to inspect your feet.

Nail Fungus

A fungal nail is an infection characterized by a change in the toenail's colour, thickness, and quality. It may cause pain and difficulty in walking. Studies estimate that fungal nail infections affect three to five percent of the population. However, podiatrists believe that because so many cases go unreported, the incidence is much higher.


The spread of athlete's foot to the nails.

Shoes and socks create a warm, dark and humid environment, which encourages fungal growth.

Systemic disease.




Practice good foot hygiene, including daily washing of the feet with soap and water; drying feet carefully, especially between the toes; changing shoes regularly.

Keep shoes and socks dry as a preventative measure.

Wear shoes made of materials that breathe.

Wear socks made of fibers that "wick" away moisture faster than cotton socks.

Avoid wearing excessively tight hosiery, which promotes moisture.

Shower shoes should be worn when possible in public areas.

Disinfect home pedicure tools and instruments used to cut nails.

Don't apply polish to nails suspected of infection-those that are red, discolored or swollen.

Ingrown Nail

Toenails often serve as barometers of our health; they are diagnostic tools providing the initial signal of the presence or onset of systemic diseases. For example, the pitting of nails and increased nail thickness can be manifestations of psoriasis. Concavity-nails that are rounded inward instead of outward-can foretell iron deficiency anemia. Some nail problems can be conservatively treated with topical or oral medications while others require partial or total removal of the nail. Any discoloration or infection on or about the nail should be evaluated by a podiatrist. The most common nail problems include the following: ingrown toenails , fungal nails and blackened toenails.


An ingrown toenail is a painful condition characterized by the nail digging into the surrounding skin, leading to inflammation and possible infection of the toe. This is a serious condition for people with impaired circulation, diabetes, or other systemic diseases.



Improper nail trimming


Pressure from ill-fitting shoes

Biomechanical foot imbalances


Trim toenails straight across as a preventative measure.

Select the proper shoe style and size.


A wart is a growth in the skin caused by a viral infection. Warts tend to be hard and flat with elevated, rough surfaces with well-defined boundaries. Some have one or more black pinpoints. They are frequently called plantar warts because they appear on the plantar surface, or sole of the foot. Children, especially teenagers, tend to be more susceptible to warts than adults.

It is possible that a variety of other more serious lesions, including carcinomas and melanomas (cancers), can be mistakenly identified as warts. Because of those identification problems, it is wise to consult a podiatrist about any suspicious growth or eruption on the skin of the feet. If warts are left untreated, they can grow and spread into clusters of several warts.


A virus causes warts, which typically invade the skin through small cuts and abrasions.


Avoid walking barefoot.

Change shoes daily.

Keep feet clean and dry.

Avoid home treatments.

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