skip to main content
Healtheuniversity > English > Diabetes College > Treat Diabetes > Health Problems with Diabetes > Feet


What Can Happen?

Diabetes can damage the blood vessels and nerves in your feet. If your blood vessels and nerves are damaged your feet will feel different. You may not be able to feel pain or temperature in your feet. Your feet may feel numb, tingly or burning.

Diabetes can also cause your feet to change shape and size. Your feet will no longer sweat or produce oil. As a result, your skin can become dry and cracked.  Dry, cracked skin is more likely to become infected.

An infection can occur in a sore on your foot. Sores on your feet are called foot ulcers. Foot ulcers are often found at the base of your big toe or on the ball of your foot. These ulcers need medical help right away. If foot ulcers are left untreated, a foot ulcer may lead to your toes or your foot being removed (amputation).

It is important to notice any changes to your feet. You are less likely to have infections if you get medical help quickly. 

What Can I Do?

If you have diabetes (any type) take action to manage your blood sugar.

Signs of Foot Problems

Check for these signs.

  • Your feet feel:
    • numb
    • tingling
    • burning
    • pain
  • You have a cut on your foot that will not heal.
  • The skin on your feet is dry or cracked.
  • Your feet change shape and size.

Take Action

If you have any of the signs above then take action.

  • Wash your feet each day with lukewarm water and mild soap.
  • Cut toenails straight across to avoid ingrown toenails.
  • Put lotion on your feet.
  • Check your feet every day. Look for tender spots, sores or cuts.
  • Wear microfiber socks instead of cotton. Microfiber socks will keep your feet dry. They will also lower your chance of blisters and infections.
  • Wear comfortable fitting shoes.
  • Avoid walking around in bare feet.
  • Talk to your doctor if you have a cut that will not heal.
  • Talk to a foot care specialist (chiropodist). They will tell you how to take care of your feet.
  • Get your doctor to check your feet at each visit. 
Back to list of Health Problems
Last Reviewed: 10/16/2016