If you have diabetes, your blood glucose, or blood sugar, levels are too high. Over time, this can damage your nerves or blood vessels. Nerve damage from diabetes can cause you to lose feeling in your feet. You may not feel a cut, a blister or a sore. Foot injuries such as these can cause ulcers and infections. Serious cases may even lead to amputation. Damage to the blood vessels can also mean that your feet do not get enough blood and oxygen. It is harder for your foot to heal, if you do get a sore or infection.
You can help avoid foot problems. First, control your blood sugar levels. Good foot hygiene is also crucial:
- Check your feet every day
- Wash your feet every day
- Keep the skin soft and smooth
- Smooth corns and calluses gently
- If you can see, reach, and feel your feet, trim your toenails regularly. If you cannot, ask a foot doctor (podiatrist) to trim them for you.
- Wear shoes and socks at all times
- Protect your feet from hot and cold
- Keep the blood flowing to your feet
NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
- Diabetes and Foot Problems (National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases) Also in Spanish
- Foot Care in Diabetes Mellitus (Beyond the Basics) (UpToDate)
- Living With Diabetes: Foot Care (American Diabetes Association) Also in Spanish
- Living with Diabetes: Foot Complications (American Diabetes Association) Also in Spanish
- Cold-Weather Foot Care Key for Diabetics (01/12/2017, HealthDay)
- Diabetes: Good Diabetes Management and Regular Foot Care Help Prevent Severe Foot Sores (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
- Diabetic Complications and Amputation Prevention (American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons) Also in Spanish
- Diabetic Foot and Risk: How to Prevent Losing Your Leg (American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society)
- Diabetic Wound Care (American Podiatric Medical Association)
- Charcot Foot (American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons) Also in Spanish
- Cracked Heels (American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons) Also in Spanish
- Diabetic Neuropathy (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke)
- Shoes and Orthotics for Diabetics (American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society) Also in Spanish
- Neurogenic Ulcer (Diabetic Ulcer) (Logical Images)
Statistics and Research
- Patient Access to Research (American Diabetes Association)
- ClinicalTrials.gov: Diabetic Foot (National Institutes of Health)
Journal ArticlesReferences and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Article: Antimicrobial resistance among aerobic biofilm producing bacteria isolated from chronic...
- Article: Peripheral nerve crushing to relieve chronic pain in diabetic and...
- Article: Exploring nurses' and patients' feelings of disgust associated with malodorous...
- Diabetic Foot -- see more articles
Find an Expert
- American Diabetes Association
- Find an Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle MD/DO (American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society)
- National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases