Protecting your feet
Have you given much thought to your shoes? If you have diabetes, it's especially important to wear properly fitting shoes, both inside and outside your home.
People with diabetes are more likely to have poor circulation to their feet and legs, in addition to nerve damage. As a result, they’re prone to developing sores, or ulcers, on their feet. These ulcers can get infected and take a long time to heal. In severe cases, the entire foot must be amputated to prevent widespread infection in the rest of the body.
Diabetic foot is a dangerous loss of sensation in the feet caused by damage to the nervous system. Often, this loss of sensation can lead to a diabetic foot sufferer not noticing wounds or injuries in the foot, which can lead to additional damage or infection.
Why are shoes so important?
About a quarter of all people with diabetes will develop an infected, difficult-to-treat wound known as a foot ulcer at some point in their lives. These wounds often start out small but can quickly turn into a big deal. Diabetic foot ulcers are the leading cause of foot amputations.
Properly fitting shoes are the number one way to prevent blisters or scrapes, which can quickly turn into infected foot ulcers.
Always wear shoes!
What should I watch for?
Take a moment each day to look at your feet. Find a well-lit area, perhaps under a lamp or in the bathroom, and look closely at your entire foot — especially the tips of your toes and the bottoms of your feet. If you aren't able to see your feet, ask a family member or caretaker to check them for you.
If you notice a callous, blister, drainage on your sock, an area of redness or a patch of skin that remains warmer than the surrounding areas long after you've removed your shoes, contact your doctor. Your doctor may clean the wound, remove any dead tissue, apply a clean bandage, treat any infection and advise you to stay off of your foot as long as possible. Left untreated, foot ulcers are a leading cause of foot amputations in people with diabetes.
Are you at risk for a foot ulcer?