There are two main ways that foot problems can start; 1) an injury like a cut or a blister caused by shoes rubbing, or 2) hard, cracked skin.

You should check your feet for:

  • Any damage to your skin, like a cut, blister, burn and scald. These injuries can take a long time to heal if you have diabetes and sometimes these wounds can become infected. Occasionally an infection can become serious.
  • Hard skin. This builds up on the parts of your feet where there is a lot of pressure or repeated pressure, for example where your shoes or socks rub on your skin. If an area of hard skin builds up then the pressure on the skin under it starts to increase. This causes damage to the tissues underneath. Eventually this pressure can cause a wound to form under the hard skin.

Any area of skin on your feet and toes could potentially become damaged but there are some places where your skin is more at risk. These are areas to keep a close eye on when you check your feet:

  • The ball of your foot (the underneath of your foot just below your toes). This is an area where your skin is under a lot of pressure because when you walk much of your weight is on the ball of your foot.
  • Any areas where your bones might stick out – for example if you have a bunion or claw toes. Your skin can become damaged on the areas that stick out if your shoes don’t fit well.
  • Places on your feet where shoes or socks might rub. When you walk your shoes and socks can rub backwards and forwards over your skin which creates forces like friction. These forces cause your skin to become pulled and stretched which damages the blood supply and your skin.
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