How to Teach Diabetic Foot Care

Teaching a diabetic proper foot care is a very important part of treating the disease. Diabetics are prone to get infections in their feet that progress to such a point that amputations are required, because people who have diabetes have a twofold problem as far as the feet are concerned. The first is that many diabetics have nerve damage and numbness in the feet and toes, so if they get a little cut or injury they may not even feel or be aware of it. The second is that foot injuries are very slow and difficult to heal because of the diabetes


  1.  1

First you must make the diabetic patient understand that losing a foot and leg is not just something that could happen to them, but something that will happen if proper care and attention is not given on a regular basis.

  1. 2

Inform the person with diabetes that the feet must be kept clean and dry. Soaking the feet is not advisable because there could be bacteria in the water and if there is a break in the skin, infection could set in. Use warm water and soap.Make sure you thoroughly dry the feet especially between the toes where moisture can get trapped. You can put lotion on the bottoms of the foot where you might have rough skin, and powder between the toes to keep them dry.

  1. 3

Cut toenails straight across and not too short so you don't cut the skin or cause a hangnail.

  1. 4

Every day, do a thorough examination of both feet to look for any cuts, scrapes, or other injuries. If you do find something, don't try to treat it yourself, but call your doctor first and follow his advice.

  1. 5

Never walk barefoot, not even in your own home. Always wear slippers, sandals, or shoes, and always wear socks with your footwear. Make sure that the shoes you wear fit properly and are not tight. Blisters caused by new shoes can be a real problem for a diabetic so don't ever "wait for them to break in".

Tips & Warnings

  • Be aware that cuts and scrapes are not the only foot injury you have to watch for. You can develop infections inside the foot if you stub your toe and fracture or break a bone. These injuries can be especially dangerous because a lot of people just assume the pain is from the accident and never suspect a bone injury.
  • There is a special thermometer that can be obtained through your doctor to detect a rise in temperature when it is passed over an undetected internal injury. They are expensive but cost much less than an amputation.