Diabetes & feet

Maintaining healthy feet for people with diabetes

Your essential guide to footcare

From corns to important warning signs, here’s our guide to looking after your feet if you have diabetes.

What you need to know

People with diabetes are more at risk of developing foot problems, as the blood flow to the feet can be restricted. This can lead to complications. However, with good regular foot care most foot problems can be prevented.

Prevention

Problems with your feet can be avoided with simple foot care. Here are some tips:

  • See a podiatrist or a trained NHS professional once a year. They will be able to treat corns and hard skin, and advise you on any potential areas of concern
  • Control your blood sugar levels to reduce the risk of complications
  • Smoking restricts blood flow to the legs and feet and can make foot problems much worse
  • Keep a close eye on your feet and keep them clean and dry to prevent infection
  • Cut your nails carefully and don’t cut down the sides of your toenails to avoid ingrowing toenails
  • Wear correctly fitted shoes to prevent blisters which can develop into ulcers, corns and calluses
  • Avoid cuts and grazes by wearing shoes or slippers at all times


It’s very important to look after your feet if you have diabetes, as foot related problems can be common. Higher levels of blood glucose over a long period of time can lead to reduced feeling or reduced blood circulation in feet and other extremities of the body. A problem can develop from something as simple as a blister but because of the associated reduced feeling and blood supply that diabetes can cause, this can develop into a wound that doesn’t heal properly. This requires urgent medical attention.


The danger signs include:

  • A red, warm or swollen foot
  • A break in the skin or discharge
  • There is swelling around an ulcer or cut
  • You feel unwell

Contact your GP straight away if you think you may have any of these symptoms.


Remember to check your feet every day. If you see any colour changes, swelling, pain, cuts or bruises, build-up of hard skin or anything unusual tell your diabetes team or your GP.