Foot Care In Diabetic Patients


Diabetes is a chronic condition characterized by high blood sugar levels that can lead to several complications, including neuropathy and poor circulation, especially in the feet. Proper foot care is essential for individuals diagnosed with diabetes to prevent serious complications such as ulcers and infections. This article provides a guide to foot care for diabetic patients, supported by relevant references.

Understanding the Risks

Diabetes-related neuropathy and poor circulation increase the risk of foot complications. According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), neuropathy affects up to 60-70% of people with diabetes, leading to reduced sensation in the feet. Peripheral artery disease (PAD), a common complication of diabetes, can result in inadequate blood flow to the feet, impairing wound healing.

Daily Inspection

Regular foot examinations are recommended to detect problems early. The ADA advises diabetic individuals to inspect their feet daily for any signs of redness, blisters, cuts, sores, swelling, or changes in skin color or temperature. Early detection allows for timely intervention and prevents complications.

Proper Footwear

Choosing appropriate footwear is crucial for preventing foot problems. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, diabetic individuals should wear shoes that fit well and provide adequate support and protection. Specialized diabetic shoes or orthotic inserts may be necessary for those at higher risk.

Daily Hygiene

Maintaining proper foot hygiene helps prevent infections. The International Working Group on the Diabetic Foot recommends washing feet daily with mild soap and lukewarm water, followed by thorough drying, especially between the toes. Moisturizing dry skin with lotion can help prevent cracking and fissures.

Protecting Feet

Preventing injuries is essential for diabetic foot health. It is advised that diabetic individuals should wear shoes at all times to protect against cuts and injuries. Using sunscreen on exposed feet and avoiding extreme temperatures can also prevent damage.

Regular Professional Care

Routine foot care by healthcare professionals is essential for diabetic patients. Regular foot examinations by a podiatrist or healthcare provider are recommended especially for those with neuropathy or circulation problems. Professional treatment of foot issues reduces the risk of complications.

Managing Blood Sugar Levels

Optimizing blood glucose control is critical for preventing diabetic complications. It is importance to monitor blood sugar levels regularly while adhering to a healthy diet, engaging in physical activity, and taking prescribed medications as directed. Tight glycemic control reduces the risk of neuropathy and other diabetes-related complications.

Immediate Attention to Problems

Prompt treatment of foot problems is essential to prevent complications. Individuals diagnosed with diabetes are advised to seek medical attention for any foot issues, no matter how minor they may seem. Delayed treatment can lead to serious complications, including foot ulcers and infections.

Medications and Topical Treatments

In addition to preventive measures and professional care, diabetic individuals may benefit from certain medications and topical treatments to maintain foot health. Topical creams and balms containing ingredients such as urea or salicylic acid can help soften and exfoliate dry, rough skin, reducing the risk of cracks and fissures. According to a study published in the Journal of the American Podiatric Medical Association, the use of urea-based creams can improve skin hydration and reduce callus formation in diabetic patients. Additionally, antimicrobial creams or ointments may be prescribed to prevent or treat minor skin infections, especially for those with compromised immune systems or neuropathy.
Supplements can also play a supportive role in foot care for diabetics by promoting circulation, nerve health and wound healing. Examples include;
• Alpha-lipoic acid: May help reduce nerve damage and improve blood sugar control
• Omega -3 fatty acids: Can reduce inflammation and improve circulation.
• Vitamin D: Important for nerve health and immune function.
• Magnesium: Helps regulate blood sugar levels and support nerve functioning.
• Vitamin B12: Essential for nerve health and may reduce neuropathy symptoms.
• Coenzyme Q10: Supports circulation and aids wound healing.


Proper foot care is paramount for diabetic individuals to prevent complications and maintain overall health. By following the guidelines outlined in this article and seeking professional care when needed, individuals with diabetes can reduce the risk of foot-related complications and improve their quality of life.


1. American Diabetes Association. (n.d.). Foot Complications. Retrieved from
2. American Heart Association. (2020). Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) and Diabetes. Retrieved from
3. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. (2017). Diabetic Neuropathies: The Nerve Damage of Diabetes. Retrieved from
4. International Working Group on the Diabetic Foot. (2019). IWGDF Guidelines on the Prevention and Management of Diabetic Foot Disease 2019. Retrieved from
5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020). Prevent Diabetes Problems: Keep Your Feet and Skin Healthy. Retrieved from
6. American Podiatric Medical Association. (n.d.). Diabetes & Your Feet. Retrieved from
7. American Diabetes Association. (2022). Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes. Retrieved from
8. Landsman, A. S., Sahni, D., & Kumar, S. (2009). Topical Urea for Diabetic Foot Callus Reduction: A Prospective, Randomized, Controlled, Single-Blind Pilot Study. Journal of the American Podiatric Medical Association, 99(5), 407-413. doi:10.7547/0980407

Written by Miss Egede Gabriella.

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