Chapter 6: Maintaining Your Overall Health
Over time, diabetes can affect nerves and
blood vessels that supply the legs and feet.
This means you may not be able to feel if you
have a cut or infection. Wounds on your feet
may be slow to heal, and may infect easily.
Because of this, you need to pay close attention
to your feet. Check them daily. Ask a family
member for help if you have trouble seeing
your feet, especially the bottoms. If you have
problems with your feet, you should have your
feet examined every time you see your health
Preventing Foot Problems
Here’s what you can do to help prevent serious health problems with
• Inspect your feet every day for cuts, cracks, sores, redness, or swelling.
Watch for cuts and scrapes that are slow to heal, itch, feel warm,
ooze fluid, or smell bad. If you notice any of these problems, contact
your health care provider right away. He or she may refer you to a
podiatrist (a specialist in foot health).
• Keep your feet clean and protect them from injury. Wash your feet in
warm (not hot) water and dry thoroughly, especially between toes.
• Don’t soak your feet.
• Do not go barefoot, and always wear clean socks and comfortable
shoes that protect your feet.
• Do not trim any corns or calluses. Talk to your health care provider if
you need help cutting and filing your toenails safely.
• Look for color changes in your feet (redness with streaks can signal a
• The American Diabetes Association recommends that you have a
thorough foot exam at least once a year. Anyone who has diabetes
should have their feet inspected at every office visit.