Diabetic Foot Care

Diabetes can cause nerve damage (called peripheral neuropathy) that reduces sensation in the feet. Individuals with neuropathy may have a foot injury or condition that requires medical care without even knowing it. Small injuries may become infected. Diabetes may also affect blood flow to legs and feet, making it harder for cuts or sores to heal. A small infection can become very serious under these conditions. Foot infection is the most common reason for hospitalization of people with diabetes. Foot ulcers and non-healing wounds are the primary causes of amputation in people with diabetes. With proper foot care, however, it is estimated that as many as half of these amputations could be prevented.

Just like anyone else, people with diabetes can develop the following types of foot conditions:

Corn and callus
Corn and callus

Corns and calluses are thick layers of skin caused by too much rubbing or pressure on the same spot.
Blister
Blister

Blisters can form if shoes always rub the same spot, or from wearing shoes that do not fit or wearing shoes without socks.
Ingrown toenail
Ingrown toenail

Ingrown toenails occur when an edge of the nail grows into the skin, which can then get red and infected. Ingrown nails can be caused when someone cuts into the corners of toenails during nail trimming. Wearing shoes which are too tight can also cause ingrown nails.
Bunion
Bunion

A bunion forms when the big finger slants towards the small toes, and a bump forms at the base of the big toe. This spot can get red, sore, and infected. Bunions may run in the family, but most often they are caused by wearing high-heeled shoes with narrow toes. These shoes put pressure on the big toe, pushing it toward the second toe.
Plantar warts
Plantar warts

Plantar warts, which form on the bottom of the feet, are caused human papilloma virus (HPV). They tend to disappear without treatment.
Hammertoe
Hammertoe

Hammertoes form when a foot muscle gets weak, shortening the tendons, which then retract the toe, causing it to curl under the foot and creating a bump at the joint on the top of the toe. They also may be caused by wearing shoes that do not fit properly (are too short). Hammertoes can cause problems with walking and can lead to other foot problems, such as blisters, calluses, and sores.
Dry and cracked skin
Dry and cracked skin

Dry skin can become cracked, allowing germs to enter.
Athlete's foot
Athlete's foot

Athlete's foot is caused by a fungus that causes redness and cracking of the skin.