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How To Prevent Blisters On Diabetic Feet

diabetic feet blisters

Living with diabetes requires constant attention to your foot health and care. People with diabetes have a higher risk of developing foot complications, including blisters, which can lead to serious consequences like infections, hospitalizations, and amputation if not properly treated. Diabetic foot blisters require immediate attention and careful treatment.

Blisters are small pockets of fluid that form on the skin's surface due to friction or pressure. For people with diabetes, the risk of developing foot blisters is increased due to two reasons: peripheral neuropathy and poor circulation.

Causes of Blisters on Diabetic Feet:

1. Peripheral Neuropathy

Peripheral neuropathy, a common complication of diabetes, damages the nerves in the feet, causing chronic pain, numbness, and tingling in the feet. This numbness makes it difficult for many diabetics to feel when something is wrong with their feet because they can't feel pain. This is how the pressure and friction can continue, leading to a blister on the foot forming.

2. Peripheral Arterial Disease

Poor circulation, known as Peripheral Arterial Disease or PAD is another factor for blisters forming on diabetic feet. Diabetes also damages the blood vessels in your feet and legs, specifically the arteries, which are responsible for bringing blood, oxygen, and nutrients to your feet. With PAD your legs and feet will not get enough blood flow to be healthy, which makes it much harder to heal from injuries, and to fight infections in the feet, blisters included. Diabetes unfortunately can cause many foot problems, which all increase the risk of ulcers, infections, and amputations. To learn more about what these are, click here for another blog post from me.

3. Shoes that don't fit properly

Shoes that do not fit, someone with diabetes can spell disaster. Shoes that are too tight, or too loose, can lead to pressure points on the foot from the shoes, and too much movement inside of the shoes, which can lead to blisters. Diabetics should be wearing diabetic shoes. I have included my blog post on the difference between diabetic shoes & regular shoes.

How To Prevent Blisters on Diabetic Feet

1. Check your feet daily

  • Daily foot checks are crucial for diabetic feet and lower your risk of ulcers, infections, hospitalization, and amputations.

  • To learn more about why daily foot checks are important for diabetics, along with some product recommendations, click here.

  • If you notice any changes to your feet, including a blister, call your podiatrist or foot doctor immediately. Delaying treatment of this from a doctor increases your risk of all of the above.

2. Control your blood sugar

  • Keeping your blood sugar levels within a healthy range consistently is crucial for foot health. A healthy blood sugar pattern lowers the risk of all complications in your feet related to diabetes, including amputation

  • Follow your doctor's recommendations

  • If you are having problems with making lifestyle changes regarding food to keep your blood sugar healthy, speak to a dietician, specifically one who specializes in diabetic nutrition and lowering blood sugar. Kim Rose Dietitian in my option is one of, if not the best dieticians currently in practice for people with either type I or type II diabetes. Click the link above to learn more about her.

2. Choose the right shoes for your feet

  • Choose diabetic shoes that fit well. These shoes should be made of breathable materials, that give enough support and cushioning.

  • Avoid tight shoes, shoes with seams inside them, or rough material that causes friction and a blister.

  • Consider using orthotic inserts to improve foot support and lower pressure points on the soles of the feet.

  • Replace diabetic shoes yearly, old and worn-out shoes increase your risk of developing blisters

  • To see some diabetic shoe options that will keep your feet healthy without sacrificing style, click here for my blog post.

3. Protect your feet at all times

  • Avoid walking barefoot, both indoors and outdoors, to protect your feet from possible injuries.

  • Wear diabetic socks to give your feet an extra layer of protection.

  • Before wearing your shoes, check them for anything that could have made its way inside the shoe (rocks, plastic, or other objects).

What To If You Find A Blister on Your Diabetic Feet At Home?

1. Don't pop or drain the blister

diabetic feet blisters
  • In most cases, it is best to leave the blister alone.

  • The skin of a blister can act natural protective barrier, lowering your risk of infection.

  • If the blister bursts on its own, clean the area gently with mild soap and water.

  • If the foot doctor or podiatrist decides to drain the blister in their office later, this is ok due to their training, expertise, and sterile instruments.

2. Cover with a clean, sterile bandaid

  • Cover the blister with a sterile bandage or dressing for added protection. This will help to aid in the healing process and lowers the risk of infection

3. Call your podiatrist or foot doctor

  • Once you find a blister on your foot and are diabetic, call your foot doctor immediately

  • A foot doctor will be able to provide further treatment and follow-up to prevent infection and other complications.

The End

Blisters on diabetic feet need to be treated quickly to prevent complications like foot ulcer formation, infection, hospitalization, and amputation. Knowing the risk factors, causes, and what to you if you ever come across a blister on your foot as a diabetic, or on the foot of a diabetic family member can be potentially life-saving. Again, your local foot doctors are here for you and are available to help you.

Schedule Your Appointment At Direct Podiatry Arizona

Have a blister on diabetic feet and looking for a foot doctor in Phoenix? My name is Dr. Tarr, I am a board-certified foot doctor, and also the owner of Direct Podiatry Arizona in Tempe. To view my available appointment times, click here.

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