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Medical professional wrapping a diabetic patient's foot for an open wound and ulcer

Diabetic Foot Care: What You Need to Know

With 11 million Canadians living with diabetes, chances are high that you or someone you know has one of the various forms of the condition.  Diabetes can directly impact the health of our feet, which can cause various foot problems if left untreated. From nerve damage and reduced blood vessel functionality in our feet and legs, proper foot care is essential to help manage and live with diabetes. Read on to learn more about common foot conditions in diabetic patients, prevention, and when to seek professional help.

Common foot problems in diabetic patientsBottom of the foot pain showing pain and inflammation

Diabetes can cause damage to the nerves and blood vessels in your feet, leading to serious foot problems if left untreated. Proper foot care is crucial for people with diabetes to prevent complications. The most common foot conditions in diabetic patients are:

Because they’re at aa heightened risk of certain foot conditions, diabetes patients should take extra precautions when caring for their feet.

Diabetic foot care prevention and management

Calendar showing the date of the month

So, what does caring for your feet when one has diabetes mean precisely?

The key element of diabetic foot care is prevention; this is the best way to manage the effects of diabetes on your feet. We recommend following a mix of the following to help manage any side effects of diabetes effectively and to help prevent any existing conditions from worsening:

  • Check your feet daily for cuts, blisters, sores, swelling, or other abnormalities.
  • Wash your feet with warm water and mild soap daily. Dry them thoroughly, especially between your toes.
  • Apply a moisturizing cream or lotion regularly, but avoid applying it between your toes, as this can create a moist environment that promotes fungal growth.
  • Cut your toenails straight across and file the edges when trimming. Avoid cutting the corner or cutting nails too short, as you may increase your risk of ingrown toenails. It is best to get this done by a chiropodist to prevent complications. 
  • Choose shoes that fit well and provide good support. Avoid shoes with pointed toes or high heels, as they can cause pressure points that can lead to blisters and calluses. Pair good shoes with clean, dry socks.
  • Protect your feet from injury by wearing shoes or slippers at all times.
  • Have your feet examined by a healthcare provider at least once a year. You should also see a chiropodist or podiatrist for foot care (i.e.: callus treatment, nail trimming) at least every 2 – 3 months, especially if you have foot problems or are at high risk for foot complications. DIY foot care for people with diabetes can lead to unintended complications. 

When to seek professional help when experiencing diabetes-related foot conditions

Medical devices used for diabetic patients to monitor blood sugar levels

There are several specific situations where we recommend seeking professional help regarding diabetes-related foot conditions. If you experience any of the following, seek medical attention shortly:

  • Suppose something is on your feet, like a cut, bump, bruise, lesion, or skin irregularities. With diabetes, you’re at a higher risk of these conditions worsening. If you notice any wounds or sores on your feet, you should seek professional help immediately.
  • A pre-existing condition worsens rather than improves.
  • You lose feeling in your feet or toes.
  • Sudden bouts of swelling or inflammation

Since diabetic foot care is all about preventing and managing the effects of diabetes, recognizing signs and symptoms early (whether yourself or through check-ups) is critical to staying healthy.

How a foot clinic can help with diabetic foot care

Chiropodist performing a foot assessment by analyzing bottom of the foot of a patient

A foot clinic can be your best friend when managing and preventing foot problems in diabetic patients. Prevention is key when it comes to managing and treating diabetes-related foot complications. Foot clinics offer regular check-ups on common foot conditions, advice on a diabetic foot care routine, shoe fittings, footwear recommendations, and custom orthotics. If you have diabetes, you should attend at a foot clinic every 2 to 3 months 

Have your feet checked at Feet First Clinic

If you’re searching for a second opinion or a proper diabetic foot care routine, contact our team at Feet First Clinic. Book an appointment by calling us at (416) 769-3338 or requesting an appointment online below.

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Carolina Charles

Patient Relation Coordinator (She/Her)

If you’ve been to the clinic before, chances are you had the pleasure of meeting Carolina! Carolina’s daily goal is going above and beyond to make sure patients are always completely satisfied. Having worked in the podiatry industry for 22 years, Carolina brings a wealth of knowledge pertaining to client service, insurance policies, and procedures.​ She steers the ship to make sure everything runs smoothly on the daily. Carolina is known for spicing up every outfit with her signature costume jewellery.