"You have brains in your head. You have feet in your
shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you
choose." Dr Seuss.
If you live with diabetes, winter can be a harsh time for these
most valuable body parts. Here are some tips on how you can keep
your feet happy this winter.
Keep your feet warm and dry
Cold feet will reduce your blood flow and add to any numbness
you may already feel.
Going barefoot is not recommended if you have diabetes because
it places your feet at great risk of injury. In winter, it's too
Keep your feet warm with a comfortable pair of shoes or
slippers. Drying your feet well after a shower, especially in
between the toes, helps to reduce soggy skin and dry feet equals
Exercise is great too. Exercise can keep your blood flowing,
banish the winter blues, and keep you warm all at the same
Wear good socks or stockings
Start by making sure that your socks are the correct size.
Socks that are too large will bunch up and rub your skin, and
socks that are too small may restrict your blood flow.
Also check that the top of the socks are not too tight. Wool and
cotton or blends are the best option for warmth and to absorb any
Ladies knee-high stockings can cut blood flow to legs and feet
if they are too tight, so buy full stockings if you can, as they
Check your socks before you put them on for rough seams or
prickles. Wash your socks daily to reduce bacteria. And although it
is tempting to wear just socks around the house in winter, slipping
over is a risk when you wear them, so socks with shoes are
Wear your best shoes inside and outside
Ill-fitting shoes can cause damage to your feet. They may rub
and cause blisters. If there is long term pressure they may also
deform the feet.
Your shoes ideally should be a finger-width longer than your
feet, wide and deep to allow for a natural spread of your toes, and
have a smooth, soft and supportive lining.
Always check your shoes for rough edges or stones inside them
before you put your feet in them. Remember that your podiatrist can
help when choosing new shoes.
Banish dry and cracking heels
Moisturiser applied to your feet daily will assist in preventing
drying and cracking of your skin. It is important to avoid cracked
skin on your heels because those cracks provide an entry for
bacteria which can lead to infection.
Don't burn your feet trying to keep them
If you have any numbness in your feet, your ability to sense
heat on the skin can disappear.
Check your bath water before stepping in with your fingers
Place your feet at least three metres away from heaters and
avoid placing your feet directly on heat packs or hot water
Make sure you turn off your electric blanket before going to bed
too as this can dry out all of your skin.
The best advice may be oft repeated but the irritation of
reading it again is nothing compared to your regret if things go
wrong: Check your feet daily.
For extra tips, see our fact sheet.
For any questions about keeping your feet happy this winter,
talk to one of our friendly health professionals on 1300 136