JDF Juvenile Diabetes Foundation International
Educational Publications


Foot Care and Diabetes

Why Your Feet Require Special Care

People who have diabetes are at an increased risk of serious foot problems. Although most problems occur in people over the age of 40, or in people who have had diabetes more than ten years, starting preventive measures early is the best way to avoid trouble later on.

How diabetes affects the feet
If you have diabetes, your feet are more vulnerable to infection for any or all of the following reasons:

Prevention is the key
A person with diabetes should view all foot problems as potentially dangerous. All care should be taken to prevent foot problems whenever possible, and medical assistance should be sought as soon as problems occur. If you are the parent of a diabetic child, be alert to the early signs of damage and be ready to take preventive measures.

You must make every effort to prevent infection. Consider these two facts:

The point if clear. Foot care makes a difference. And the responsibility for taking care of your feet is up to you.

How to Take Care of Your Feet, Step-By-Step

Ways an infection might occur
Infections usually do not occur unless there is a break in the skin. A break in the skin is an opportunity for germs to settle into the tissues, multiply and cause damage. Watch out for:

Basic Rules of Good Foot Care
Avoid going barefoot. Wear shoes or slippers whenever possible.

Examining Your Feet to Detect Infections
Get into the habit of inspecting your feet each night for corns, calluses, blisters, cracks, cuts, bruises, bunions, or infections. Key indicators of infection include:

The Role of Your Doctor

Your Doctor Should...
On your first visit, your doctor should make a careful physical examination of your feet and inquire about any relevant history. This is the first step in defining current problems and averting future ones. During annual or semi-annual visits, the doctor should:

Footcare for people with diabetes is a specialty few general physicians are trained for. Therefore, those who require frequent routine footcare should seek out a podiatrist or foot care nurse specialist. Ask you diabetologist for a recommendation.

You Should...

Prevention, detection and proper treatment are key to avoiding serious problems. You and your doctor should work as a team. Together, you can make the difference.

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