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Diabetes and healthy feet

Diabetes and healthy feet

People with diabetes are at greater risk of developing foot problems as diabetes can cause damage to the nerves and blood supply. This results in feet becoming less responsive to soreness and less sensitive to temperature and pain which can lead to ulcers, burns and other injuries while the affected blood supply may result in slower healing.
Keeping active and exercising regularly is important to people with diabetes. Having the appropriate footwear is also important whether it is for exercise or day to day activity.

Shoe fitting tips for people with Diabetes include

  • The toes should not touch the end of the shoe. When standing it is important to ensure there is approximately 1cm from the end of the shoe to the longest toe (remembering that the longest toe is not always the ‘big toe’)

  • Ensure the shoe has enough depth and width to allow the foot to expand.

  • Ensure the shoe has the correct amount of support for the particular foot type, diabetic needs and activity which they are being used for.

  • Don’t tie the laces too firmly as this can cause circulation issues including numbness

Foot care is also an important part of foot health for diabetics.

Some helpful tips to ensure foot health include:

  • Check your feet regularly upon washing and drying.

  • Have your feet checked twice a year by a podiatrist or diabetic health professional

  • Cut your toenails straight across – not into the edges – and file away any sharp edges

  • Avoid tight fitting stockings or socks. 

  • Always wear diabetic friendly socks when wearing closed-in footwear

  • Keep your feet away from direct heat sources such as hot water bottles, electric blankets and heaters

  • Use a moisturizer daily to avoid dry and cracked skin

  • Check your shoes before putting them on each time for sharp edges or foreign bodies

  • Ensure you wear footwear whenever you are out of bed to protect your feet

  • Seek information about how to care for your feet from your podiatrist or diabetic health professional