Diabetic Foot Care

Startling Statistics 

Healthy feet are essential for overall good health. For people with diabetes, taking care of their feet is especially vital. 

More than 60 percent of all non-traumatic lower limb amputations worldwide are related to complications from the disease, according to the American Diabetes Association. These amputations are preventable with careful monitoring and regular foot screenings performed by a podiatrist. 

Diabetes and Your Feet

Poor circulation: 

Longstanding high blood sugar can damage blood vessels, decreasing blood flow to the foot. This poor circulation can weaken the skin, contribute to the formation of ulcers, and impair wound healing. Some bacteria and fungi thrive on high levels of sugar in the bloodstream , and bacterial and fungal infections can breakdown the sin and complicate ulcers.

More serious complications include deep skin and bone infections. Gangrene (death and decay of tissue) is a very serious complication tat may include infection; widespread gangrene may require foot amputation's. 

Approximately 5% of those with diabetes eventually require amputation of a toe or foot. 

This tragic consequence can be prevented in most patients by managing blood sugar levels a daily foot care.

Nerve damage:

Elevated blood glucose levels over time can damage the nerves of the foot, decreasing a person's ability to notice pain and pressure. Without these sensations, it is easy to develop callused pressure spots and accidently injure the skin, soft tissue, bone and joints. Over time, bone and joint damage can dramatically alter the shape of the foot. nerve damage, also called neuropathy, can also weaken certain foot muscles, further contributing to foot deformities. 


While open sores on the foot— called ulcers—are the most common diabetes-related foot problem, serious conditions such as neuropathy, skin changes, calluses, poor circulation, and infection are also prevalent. 

The nerve damage that diabetes causes may mean a person with an ulcer or injury may be unaware of it until it becomes infected. Infection can lead to partial or full amputation of the foot or lower leg. 

Diabetes Warning Signs:

 Skin color changes 

Swelling of the foot or ankle 

Numbness or tingling in the feet or toes 

Open sores on the feet that are slow to heal 

 Ingrown and fungal toenails 

Bleeding corns and calluses 

Dry cracks in the skin/heel 

Avoid Complications 

Inspect feet daily. 

Check your feet and toes every day for cuts, bruises, sores, or changes to the toenails, such as thickening or discoloration. 

Wear thick, soft socks. 

Avoid socks with seams, which could rub and cause blisters or other skin injuries. 


Walking can help control blood sugar, keep weight down, and improve circulation. Be sure to wear appropriate athletic shoes when exercising. 

Have new shoes properly measured and fitted. 

Foot size and shape may change over time. Shoes that fit properly are important to those with diabetes. 

Don’t go barefoot.

 Don’t go without shoes, even in your own home. The risk of cuts and infection is too great for those with diabetes. 

See a podiatrist. 

Make at least two appointments a year with an APMA member podiatrist, the foot and ankle expert, to have your feet examined. This is a critical step in avoiding diabetic foot complications and amputation. 

Preventing Foot Problems in Diabetes

While routine medical exams are important, everyday foot care plays the biggest role in preventing foot complications before they start.