There are many things you can do to keep your feet healthy. Take care of your diabetes. Work with your health care team to keep your blood glucose in your target range.

Look at your bare feet for red spots, cuts, swelling, and blisters. If you cannot see the bottoms of your feet, use a mirror or ask someone for help. See your health care provider right away if there are any changes or if you hurt your feet.

Use warm water and a mild soap. Avoid soaking, since it can dry out the skin and lead to cracks. Dry your feet carefully, especially between the toes.

If you have corns or calluses, ask your health care provider to trim them for you.

Rub a thin coat of skin moisturizer (lotion, cream, or petroleum jelly) over the tops and bottoms of your feet, but not between your toes.

Trim your toenails straight across and file the edges with an emery board or nail file. Wear shoes and socks at all times. Never walk barefoot. Wear comfortable shoes that fit well and protect your feet. Check inside your shoes before wearing them. Make sure the lining is smooth and there are no objects inside.

Wear shoes at the beach or on hot pavement. Don’t put your feet into hot water. Test water before putting your feet in it just as you would before bathing a baby. Never use hot water bottles, heating pads, or electric blankets. You can burn your feet without realizing it.

Wear comfortable shoes and socks that fit well and protect your feet.

Put your feet up when sitting. Wiggle your toes and move your ankles up and down for 5 minutes, two or three times a day. Don’t cross your legs for long periods of time. Don’t smoke.

  • Begin taking good care of your feet today.

  • Set a time every day to check your feet.

This handout was published in Clinical Diabetes, Vol. 39, issue 2, 2021, and was adapted from the American Diabetes Association’s Diabetes Advisor handout “Taking Care of Your Feet.” Visit the Association’s Patient Education Library at for hundreds of free, downloadable handouts in English and Spanish. Distribute these to your patients and share them with others on your health care team. Copyright American Diabetes Association, Inc., 2021.

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