Quick Guide to Common Diabetic Foot Problems

Wondering about your foot health? Use this quick guide to common foot problems. If you suspect you have a condition mentioned here, contact your health-care provider to discuss treatment options.

Identifying a Foot Problem

For people with diabetes, the feet are a particularly sensitive area--and not just because diabetic neuropathy can make them tender. PWDs often worry about foot complications. The good news is that thanks to better blood glucose control, the number of diabetic foot amputations has significantly decreased. But it's important to catch foot problems early. Check out these common foot problems. If any look familiar, contact your health-care provider.


Callus: An area of thickened skin often found around the heel. Results from excess pressure on the foot. If allowed to build up, calluses can get infected and become dangerous ulcers.

Foot Ulcers

Ulcer: An open sore on the sole of the foot or on toe joints. Can result from poor wound care. Untreated ulcerations may lead to gangrene or amputation.


Blister: A circular pocket of skin filled with serum or blood. Caused by friction between skin and footwear. Can be prevented with socks and well-fitting shoes.


Corn: A conical-shaped area of thickened skin. Results from continued pressure and friction on the foot. Proper footwear lessens the frequency of corn formation.

Foot Warts

Wart: A small, circular, sometimes bumpy growth that may appear alone or in clusters. Caused by a common virus. PWDs should not attempt self-removal of warts.


Bunion: A bony growth, usually found at the base of the big toe. Caused by ill-fitting footwear and genetic predisposition. Bothersome bunions may be surgically removed or treated with special footwear.

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