November 23, 2022

Preventative Foot Care for Diabetics

General Health
Primary Care

If you have diabetes, taking good care of your feet is crucial to prevent hospital stays and other serious injuries. 1 in 4 hospital stays for people with diabetes are due to a condition called diabetic foot. Diabetic foot occurs when high blood sugar damages blood vessels and nerves in your feet. Foot ulcers, foot infections, and other problems can lead to hospital stays and, in some instances, surgery.

Fortunately, just because you have diabetes does not mean you will land in the hospital with foot problems; there are preventative steps you can take to stay healthy.

The first step and perhaps most important step is to manage your diabetes. If your blood sugar levels are within range, you are at much lower risk for infections or serious injuries. You can work with your healthcare team to find and stay within your target range.

Other steps you can take are to monitor and take precautions with your feet. By properly washing and drying your feet every day, you can inspect them for any unusual changes. If possible, when trimming your toenails, try to go to a professional for help but bring your own trimming tools. If you must trim your toenails yourself, do so with extreme caution, and never walk around barefoot, even in your own house.

Making good lifestyle choices can also reduce your risk for diabetic-related injuries and infections. This includes exercising, not smoking, and never self-diagnosing yourself or taking over-the-counter medication without talking to your provider first.

Lastly, we recommend you ask your healthcare provider to look at your feet every time you go in for a visit. You should also schedule yearly foot exams with your primary care provider or a podiatrist (foot doctor). Podiatrist, foot exams, and treatment are covered if you have Medicare Part B.

For more information on foot care, visit our Health Library.