Diabetic Foot: How to Deal?

Around 6% of people suffer from foot-related issues due to high blood sugar levels.

Poorly controlled diabetes can lead to nerve damage, worsening of infections, poor blood circulation in the feet, etc. However, if you put in a little effort, you can control your blood sugar levels and stay away from foot-related issues. Before going further, here is what you need to know about diabetic foot and its treatment.

Diabetic Foot

What are the Causes of Diabetic Foot?

  • Diabetes causes nerve damage if left uncontrolled. This can lead to foot related issues in people with diabetes.
  • Being overweight can intensify this nerve damage and further lower the blood circulation level in the feet, which does not allow feet injuries to heal.
  • Dry skin can cause cracks in the skin of your feet. These cracks can turn into severe cuts with time if you have uncontrolled sugar levels.
  • Nerve damage in the feet can also cause numbness. Due to the numbness, you might not feel any cuts or sores in your feet, and they may be left untreated for a long time. This can cause infection in the wounds.

Symptoms of Diabetic Foot

  • Numbness
  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Inflammation at the affected site
  • Loss of hair in the area
  • Discolouration or darkening of the skin on the feet
  • Tingling sensation
  • Loss of sensation
  • Foul smell from wounds or cuts on the feet
  • Corns or calluses
  • Fungal infection around the toenails

Common Foot Problems Faced by people with Diabetes

Fungal Infection in Nails

High sugar levels in the blood can make your nails infected with fungus. If you leave your feet sweaty, you have a high possibility of getting a fungal infection. A small injury in and around your nails can also make them prone to fungus.


Corns can be defined as a hard skin build-up that forms in the surrounding area of the toes or between them. This is caused due to friction between the toes with each other or with footwear. Uncontrolled sugar levels can cause infection in corns.

Diabetic Ulcers

An open sore or a break in your skin can lead to the formation of a foot ulcer. A high sugar level in your blood does not allow the sore to heal quickly, due to which it becomes infected and spreads across the foot.

Ingrown Toenails

This happens when the edge of your toenail grows into your skin. Even though it is not as drastic as it sounds, it can still cause minor cuts on your skin. Normally, they get healed up pretty quickly. But due to high glucose levels, these cuts can become infected and turn into ulcers.

Athlete’s Foot

This condition also causes cracks and redness on the skin. The cracks become prone to infection, further worsening if you have diabetes with uncontrolled sugar levels.

How to Deal with Diabetic Foot?

Stating the obvious, controlling your sugar levels is mandatory if you want to escape the diabetic foot. Besides that, here are some preventative measures that you can take to keep your sugar levels under control and your feet happy and healthy!

  • Check your feet every day. Nerve damage in the feet due to diabetes can make them numb, and due to this, you may not feel any minor cuts or wounds. That is why make sure you examine your feet daily so that if there is a crack or injury, you can get it treated on time before it turns into an infection.
  • If you get corns or calluses on your feet, do not try to remove them on your own. Ask your healthcare provider to assist you.
  • Keep your toenails trimmed so that they do not grow inwards.
  • Avoid wearing shoes or enclosed footwear for a long time as it can make your feet sweaty. Sweaty feet are more prone to fungal infections.
  • Keep the blood flowing in your feet. Make sure that you do not sit with your feet up for a long time, as it can decrease the blood flow. Wearing tight socks can also hamper the blood circulation in your feet. Walking can help in enhancing the blood flow in your feet.
  • Keep your feet dry always. Moist feet become more prone to fungal infections.
  • Wash your feet with warm water only. Don’t keep them soaked for long, as it can dry out your skin. Moisturize well after cleaning them, and use talcum powder, especially between the toes, to keep them free from moisture.
  • Avoid walking barefoot on too hot and cold surfaces, like near fireplaces, places of worship, etc. You can also wear diabetic socks if needed. It is always ideal to plan your temple visits during cooler hours (early morning or evening) to avoid repercussions. 

Early treatment of diabetes-related foot conditions can lower the chances of infections. That is why it is advisable to get your feet checked once in three to six months (even if you do not experience any symptoms) by your healthcare provider to ensure they are in good condition.


The most important thing to remember is to keep your blood sugar levels in control to avoid health complications that may arise in the long run. Keeping your diet in check, maintaining a workout regime, and following a healthy lifestyle can massively lower your blood sugar levels. You can now take care of your diabetic conditions right from your home with the Diahome application. Download the Diahome app on your smartphone, and you can get in touch with expert health coaches and nutrition professionals to know how you can manage your blood sugar levels in a better way.

Monitoring your blood sugar levels is also important so that you can stay as close to normal as possible. Diahome also offers a home blood collection facility that you can get through the app and get the results. They also have healthcare professionals with expertise in diabetes that can provide you with online consultation instantly at your convenient time right from your home.


Mrs.Sripriya Ravi, M.Sc, Senior Dietitian

Mrs.Vinodhini Gopi, M.Sc, Diabetes Educator