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Managing Diabetes Complications: Foot Problems

Proper foot care is an important part of a person with diabetes’ daily routine. High blood glucose levels can damage the blood vessels that carry oxygen and nutrients to the legs and feet. This can lead to nerve damage, poor circulation, infections and foot deformities.

Diabetes is often associated with foot problems and amputation. Not including those caused by accidents or trauma, more than 60% of lower-limb amputations performed each year are on people with diabetes. 1

What to Look For

The Canadian Diabetes Association recommends that your feet be examined at least once a year—more often if you have foot problems.2 If you experience any of the following symptoms, see your healthcare professional:3

  • Less pain or less sensitivity in the leg or foot
  • Cuts or breaks in the skin
  • Ingrown nails
  • Changes in the shape of your foot
  • Corns or calluses

Healthy Diabetic Footcare Habits

By keeping your blood glucose within the range recommended by your healthcare professional and paying special attention to your feet every day, you may be able to prevent long-term complications. For healthy toes and feet, follow these simple steps:4

  • Check your feet regularly
  • Wear comfortable shoes that fit, are supportive and have low heels
  • Exercise your feet regularly to improve circulation
  • Wash your feet daily with soap and lukewarm water
  • Trim your toenails straight across and not too short


1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National diabetes fact sheet, 2007. Available at: Accessed November 11, 2008.

2 Canadian Diabetes Association. Footcare: A step toward good health. Available at: Accessed March 27, 2009.

3 National Institute of Diabetes and digestive and Kidney Diseases. Prevent diabetes problems: keep your feet and skin healthy." Available at: Accessed February 20, 2008.

4 MedlinePlus. Foot health. Available at: Accessed February 20, 2008.


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