Diabetes: Checking Your Feet
Diabetes: Checking Your Feet
When you have
diabetes, you need to examine your feet every day.
Look at all areas of your feet, including your toes. Use a handheld mirror or a
magnifying mirror attached to the bathroom wall near the baseboard to inspect
your feet. If you can't see well, have someone else use this checklist to
examine your feet for you.
Using this checklist helps you
remember to examine all areas of your feet.
Checklist for daily foot exams
| Check your feet for: || What to do if you notice a problem|
- Redness could point to irritation from
shoes or overheating or other early signs of a problem. Do what you can to
discover the cause and fix it, such as wearing shoes that fit
- Blue or black areas can mean bruising or blood flow
problems. Call your doctor to report them.
Patches where hair is missing
Bald patches may mean irritation from
shoes or a blood flow problem. Show the areas to your doctor during your next
- Try to discover the cause of the blister.
Friction or rubbing against your skin causes blisters. You may need new
- Do not break the blister or open it yourself. Leave the skin
over the blister intact.
- Cover the blister with a sterile, nonstick
dressing and paper tape.
- Call your doctor if any blister becomes
red, oozes, or is not healing after 4 days.
Break in your skin
- Gently wash the area with mild soap; blot
it dry and cover it with a sterile, nonstick dressing.
- Call your
doctor if any break in the skin becomes red, oozes, or is not healing after 4
Note: Examine the underside of
your toes and the area between the toes for breaks in the skin.
Calluses (hardened areas of skin) and corns
(pressure sores, usually found on or between toes)
Show the area to your doctor at your next
visit. This is very important.
- Do not use products sold in drugstores
for corns, calluses, or other problems.
- Do not use a pumice stone
on calluses unless your doctor or foot doctor (podiatrist) shows you how to use
- Do not cut, file, or do anything that may break the
skin on your feet.
Peeling skin or tiny blisters between your
toes or cracking and oozing of the skin
This may be
athlete's foot. Treating athlete's foot early can
prevent serious foot infections. See the topic Athlete's Foot for more
- To prevent athlete's foot, wear shower
shoes or bathing shoes when you use public showers or pools.
- Do not
treat athlete's foot without first seeing your doctor or podiatrist.
Moisture between your toes
Dry between your toes well. Moisture between
your toes provides a good place for bacteria and fungi to grow, causing
Feelings of numbness or "pins and
If you have new numbness or tingling in your
feet that does not go away after changing position, call your
Do not try to treat a foot ulcer at home.
Call your doctor immediately. If you check your feet regularly, you usually
will see a problem before it becomes an ulcer.
Do not treat an ingrown toenail at home. Call
your doctor for an appointment.
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Jennifer Hone, MD - Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
July 1, 2011
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