A patient with diabetes can help prevent diabetic foot ulceration by careful foot care.


Daily foot exam:

(1) Inspect your feet daily for blisters, cuts and scratches. If your vision is impaired, have a family member examine your feet for you.

(2) Always check between the toes for any lesions.

(3) A mirror may be helpful to inspect all skin surfaces.


Washing your feet:

(1) Wash your feet daily. Dry the feet carefully and completely, especially between the toes.

(2) Do not soak your feet.

(3) Do not wash your feet in excessively warm water. Test the water with your elbow before bathing.

(4) If the skin on your feet is dry, apply a very thin coat of baby oil after bathing. Do not put creams or oils between the toes.


Environmental exposures:

(1) In winter make sure your feet are warm and dry. Wear wool socks and protective boots.

(2) Avoid exposing your feet to temperature extremes.

(3) Do not walk on hot surfaces such as sandy beaches, blacktop or the cement around swimming pools.

(4) Do not walk barefoot.

(5) If your feet are cold at night, wear warm socks. Do not use a hot water bottle or heating pad. Do not soak your feet in hot water.


Shoes, socks and sandals:

(1) Do not wear shoes without stockings.

(2) Do not wear sandals with thongs between the toes.

(3) Inspect the inside of footwear daily for foreign objects, rough areas and torn linings.

(4) Change stockings daily.

(5) Socks and stockings should fit properly. Do not wear mended stockings or socks with seams.

(6) Shoes should be comfortable at the time of purchase. They should not be tight, especially around the toes.


Toenails, corns, calluses, etc.:

(1) Cut nails straight across. If your vision is impaired, have a family member trim the toenails for you.

(2) Do not cut corns or calluses.

(3) Do not use chemical agents to remove corns or calluses. Do not use corn plasters.

(4) Do not apply strong antiseptic solutions to the skin on your feet.

(5) Do not apply adhesive tape to the feet.


Vascular health:

(1) If you smoke, quit.

(2) Avoid crossing your legs when sitting.

(3) Do not wear garters or other constricting bands on the legs.


Regular checkups:

(1) If you have a podiatrist, inform him or her that you are diabetic.

(2) See your physician regularly. Be sure your feet are examined at each visit.

(3) Follow any special instructions for the care of corns and calluses.


Contact your health care provider:

(1) If a blister, sore or ulcer develops on your feet.


To read more or access our algorithms and calculators, please log in or register.