Diabetes Foot Care

Diabetes Foot Care

Check your feet every day. Inspect the tops, sides, soles, heels, and between your toes. Look for:

Dry and cracked skin

Blisters or sores

Bruises or cuts

Redness, warmth, or tenderness

Firm or hard spots


Call your health care provider right way about any foot problems you have. DO NOT try to treat these problems yourself. Even small sores or blisters can become big problems if infection develops or they DO NOT heal. Foot ulcers are a common reason for hospital stays for people with diabetes.

Wash your feet every day with lukewarm water and mild soap. Strong soaps may damage the skin.

Check the temperature of the water with your hand or elbow first.

Gently dry your feet, especially between the toes.

Use lotion, petroleum jelly, lanolin, or oil on dry skin. DO NOT put lotion, oil, or cream between your toes.

Ask your health care provider to show you how to trim your toenails.

Soak your feet in lukewarm water to soften your toenails before trimming.

Cut the nails straight across. Curved nails are more likely to become ingrown.

Make sure the edge of each nail does not press into the skin of the next toe.

Your foot doctor (podiatrist) can trim your toenails if you are unable to.

Most people with diabetes should have corns or calluses treated by a foot doctor. If your doctor has given you permission to treat corns or calluses on your own:

Gently use a pumice stone to remove corns and calluses after a shower or bath, when your skin is soft.

DO NOT use medicated pads or try to shave or cut corns and calluses away at home.

Wear shoes at all times to protect your feet from injury. Before you put them on, always check the inside of your shoes for stones, nails, or rough areas that may hurt your feet.

If you smoke, stop. Smoking decreases blood flow to your feet. Talk to your provider or nurse if you need help quitting.

DO NOT use a heating pad or hot water bottle on your feet. DO NOT walk barefoot, especially on hot pavement or hot, sandy beaches. Remove your shoes and socks during visits to your provider so that they can check your feet.

When to See the Doctor

Call your provider if you have any of the following changes to any part of your foot:

Redness, increased warmth, or swelling.

Sores or cracks.

Tingling or burning feeling.


Take an active role in your Healthcare

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