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Quality Health Care and You - Diabetes

Foot Examination for Diabetics

What it is

Your health care provider will have you take off your socks and shoes. They look over your feet to see if you have cuts or breaks in the skin, or have an ingrown nail. They will ask you if your foot has changed color, shape, or just feels different (for example, becomes less sensitive or hurts). Your health care provider may trim your corns and calluses or toenails if you are unable to do so safely.

How it Relates to Diabetes

People with diabetes are more likely to have foot problems. This is because of the damage that is done to your blood vessels and nerves when blood sugars are not properly managed. Some of the problems people with diabetes may develop include: nerve damage, circulation problems, and infections. These can cause serious foot problems for people with diabetes. Apart from people who have injuries, diabetes is the leading cause of amputation.

The Quality Standard - How to Know You're Okay

People with diabetes should have their doctor check their feet once a year with a special tool to make sure they have feeling.

What You Can Do

The best way to avoid amputation is to keep your sugar in control. Wash your feet every day and dry them carefully, including between your toes. Keep your toenails trimmed if you can do it yourself or, if not, get someone to help you. Keep your feet protected with shoes and socks. Remember, you may not feel things that could hurt your feet, like hot and cold so be sure to take extra care. For example when you wash your feet, test the water, to be sure it's not too hot. Also, check your feet daily and keep track of any changes in color, shape, or feeling in your feet and report them to your health care provider immediately.

To Learn More

For more information:

Go to the Quality Health Care and You - Diabetes health topic, where you can:

This article is a NetWellness exclusive.

Last Reviewed: Dec 07, 2012

David C Aron, MD, MS David C Aron, MD, MS
Professor of Medicine
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University

Bette K Idemoto, PhD, RN, ACNS-BC, CCRN Bette K Idemoto, PhD, RN, ACNS-BC, CCRN
Clinical Nurse Specialist
Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing
Case Western Reserve University