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How does diabetes affect my feet?

Elevated blood sugar level over an extended period of time can cause damage to nerves and reduce blood supply to your feet. The risk of developing complications is increased if:

  • You have had diabetes for a long time

  • Your sugar levels are poorly controlled 

  • You are inactive

  • You are a smoker 

  • You have had a heart attack or stroke


What symptoms should I look for?

Symptoms of nerve damage due to diabetes. These often occur gradually and are worse at night. You may experience: 

  • Numbness or reduced ability to feel pain or temperature changes e.g. not being able to feel pebbles in shoes. 

  • Tingling or burning sensation 

  • Increased sensitivity to touch

​Diabetes increases the risk of reduced blood supply to your legs and feet. Make sure to be mindful of cramping pain in your calves when walking which goes away when you stop walking and resume as soon as you resume walking. This may be worse with uphill walking or when walking up stairs. 

So what can I do to help my feet? 

  • Check your feet daily - especially in between your toes and on the bottom of your feet. Look out for swelling, redness, broken skin, corns or calluses.  If you have difficulty examining the bottom of your feet, ask a family member or carer to help. Otherwise, use a mirror placed on the floor. If you have difficulty examining the bottom of your feet, ask a family member, carer or Podiatrist to help. Otherwise, use a mirror placed on the floor. 

  • Clean your feet daily with mild soap and warm water to reduce risk of infection. Make sure to dry your feet thoroughly after shower each day, especially in between toes. 

  • Apply emollient on feet daily only on top and bottom of your feet, but not in between toes. 

  • Wear shoes that fit well​​

If you have damage or break in your skin what do you do?
  • Gently clean the area and apply an antiseptic and non stick dressing. 

  • Keep the area clean and dry, check the area and reapply a new dressing daily.

  • If swelling or redness occurs, or your condition is not improving see our Podiatrists 

How often should I see a Podiatrist if I have diabetes?

If you can reach, see and feel your feet, you may continue to care for them on a regular basis. However, make sure to check in with your podiatrist at least once a year for early detection of any complications to ensure you maintain your optimal foot health so you can continue doing things you love.

Our Podiatry team have after hours appointments for your convenience.


The first step to managing your foot health is to see our team for treatment.