There are two types of major foot problems people with diabetes often experience: peripheral neuropathy and peripheral vascular disease. With peripheral neuropathy, you might experience numbness, tingling, and burning in your legs, feet, arms, and hands. Peripheral vascular disease means that blood isn’t circulating through your extremities efficiently and could result in ulcers or gangrene (death of tissue due to lack of blood flow).
Other diabetic foot problems include athlete’s foot, fungal infections of nails, calluses, corns, blisters, bunions, dry skin, foot ulcers, ingrown toenails, hammertoes, and plantar warts. Most of these can be treated with home care and medicated cream or ointment.
Because nerve damage and poor blood flow could result in decreased sensitivity, it’s important to take care of your feet and check them regularly.
Tips for taking care of your feet:
- Wash your feet with warm water and mild soap every day.
- Check your feet for sores and cuts every day.
- Apply lotion to feet after you wash and dry them.
- Do not rub lotion between your toes.
- Gently smooth corns and calluses with a pumice stone.
- Check your toenails once a week.
- Always wear well-fitting, closed-toe shoes and socks.
- Protect your feet from heat and cold.
- Do not smoke.
- Encourage blood flow by putting your feet up when sitting.
If you have sores, cuts, or other foot problems, talk with your doctor or podiatrist about treatment options.