Why Good Foot Care is Important for Diabetic Patients

People with diabetes often experience problems with their feet, caused by the changes to the body that come with the disease. Good foot care can help you prevent conditions that can cause damage – sometimes permanent – to your feet and toes. We want you to understand how diabetes can affect your feet and what you can do to keep them healthy.

Diabetes causes many changes in the body, particularly the feet, including nerve damage (neuropathy), the hardening and narrowing of blood vessels, changes in the skin and changes in the size and shape of toes and feet. You need to be aware of the potential dangers of these changes and how you can help to prevent harm.


Nerve damage can cause a feeling of tingling, burning or stinging pain or loss of sensation (feeling) in your feet. That means that you are less likely to feel pain or extremes of heat and cold. As a result, you may not notice if your feet are injured by a hot pad or electric blanket turned on too high, not enough protection from cold and even something as simple as a pebble caught in your shoe that has created a blister. Left untended, these injuries can cause ulcers (open sores) or permanent damage.

Blood Flow

Hardening and narrowing of blood vessels makes it more difficult for your body to fight infection and heal wounds and other injuries. Even a small cut or sore, if not noticed and left unattended, can quickly become a serious problem.


Changes caused by diabetes often include dry skin that causes drying, peeling and cracking. These conditions need to be treated properly, so that the skin remains soft and supple but without causing overly moist skin that can lead to infections. Many people with diabetes find that callouses on their feet form more often and grow quickly. If they are not tended to properly, these callouses can become very thick and then begin to break down, causing ulcers. Unfortunately, common over-the-counter treatments for callouses contain chemicals that can cause burns on the skin of diabetic patients, which leads to even more harm.

Size and Shape of Feet

Diabetic patients often experience a change in the size and shape of their feet and toes. Shoes that once fit become difficult to wear and walking becomes more of a problem. Trying to wear shoes that do not fit properly can cause many problems, including long-term injuries.

The good news is that there are techniques to help you manage these challenges. Routinely washing and drying your feet every day, using  skin lotion, protecting your feet from heat and cold, keeping your feet elevated when you sit and wearing good-fitting shoes are all important to good foot health. Keeping your toenails trimmed and having callouses looked after are also practical ways to prevent difficulties. Most of all, you should have your feet routinely inspected by a health care provider to spot any problems with your feet and advise you on ways to care for them.

The Austin Diagnostic Clinic Podiatrists, can help you manage your foot care. Beginning with a thorough checkup of your feet, we can advise you on what you can do on a routine basis to keep them healthy over the long term. We can show you techniques to wash and dry your feet, how to apply skin care lotion and how you can do an important daily inspection of your feet to spot any problems before they become a danger to your health. If your toenails and callouses need trimming, we can provide professional, effective care. Advice on proper shoe selection and, if necessary, fitting you for orthopedic inserts or shoes can be provided as well. If you have any questions or would like to make an appointment, call 512-901-4065 or visits ADClinic.com.


“Foot Complications,” American Diabetes Association, published (edited) May 29, 2015, accessed January 18, 2016, http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/complications/foot-complications/

“Foot Care,” American Diabetes Association, published (edited) October 10, 2014, accessed January 18, 2016, http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/complications/foot-complications/foot-care.html

“Prevent diabetes problems: Keep your feet healthy,” National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, published February 2014, accessed January 18, 2016, http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/Diabetes/prevent-diabetes-problems/Pages/keep-feet-healthy.aspx


“Foot Care,” National Institute on Aging, published (updated) December 22, 2015, accessed January 18, 2015, https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/publication/foot-care


  1. This is some great information, and I appreciate your point that diabetics will sometimes not notice injuries to their feet. My mother has diabetes, and I’ve been trying to help her take care of herself. I’ll definitely keep an eye on her feet to make sure there aren’t any problems that she hasn’t noticed herself. Thanks for the great post!