Diabetes and Footcare

Diabetes and Footcare

Good foot care is essential for people with diabetes. From foot self-exams to doctor checkups, there are many things you can do right now to keep your feet in good shape, improve circulation, and catch a problem before it becomes severe.

People with diabetes are at high risk for major foot complications, which are often unseen and under-discussed. Those complications can start as small blisters or cuts that are easy to overlook until it's too late.

"Diabetic foot complications account for approx. 50% of all diabetes-related hospital admissions," observed at Kenyatta Hospital, Nairobi Kenya.

Uncontrolled diabetes causes nerve damage in the extremities (a condition called peripheral neuropathy that limits pain sensation in up to 45% in Diabetics. Nerve damage also leads to poor circulation (which means wounds take longer to heal) and makes you prone to infection (it's difficult for the body to fight off bacteria in wounds).

Signs and Symptoms of Foot Problems

It’s important to recognize early warning signs of foot problems, such as:

  • burning, tingling, or painful feet
  • loss of sensation to heat, cold, or touch
  • changes to the color or shape of your feet
  • loss of hair on the toes, feet, and lower legs
  • thickening and yellowing of the toenails
  • onset of red spots, blisters, sores, ulcers, infected corns, or ingrown toenails

If Diabetic patients experience any of the above, they should consult a Podiatrist and / or Endocrinologist immediately.


Inappropriate footwear is one of the predisposing factors for diabetes foot complications. All people with diabetes should consider appropriate footwear.

  • Choose comfortable, well-fitting shoes with plenty of room, especially in and around the toe box. Never buy tight shoes hoping they will stretch.
  • Do not wear shoes made out of plastic or other materials that do not breathe. Choose leather, canvas, or suede.
  • Avoid thong sandals, flip-flops, pointed-toe and open-toe shoes, and very high heels.
  • Wear shoes that can be adjusted with laces, buckles, or Velcro.
  • Inspect the inside of your shoes every day for tears or bumps that may cause pressure or irritation.
  • If you have nerve damage, give your feet a break or change shoes after five hours to change the pressure points on different areas of your feet.
  • If you experience repeated problems with your feet, ask your doctor if special shoes would help.
  • Socks can provide an extra layer of soft protection between your foot and your shoe.
  • Wear clean, dry socks, or non-binding pantyhose. Avoid socks or hosiery with seams that can cause additional pressure points or are too tight on the leg.
  • Wear socks to bed if your feet are cold.

Tips for Footcare (refer to the Footcare chart) - below.