Research suggests that 15 percent of all patients with diabetes develop diabetic foot ulcers, which are open sores or wounds typically located on the bottom of the foot. If you are a diabetic, it is absolutely critical for you to treat foot injuries as soon as possible, as they can turn into diabetic foot ulcers that may eventually require amputation.

Even something as simple as a minor cut or a small skin puncture from a pebble in your shoe can produce major problems down the road. So how can you stay safe and keep your feet healthy? Below are some tips to help you treat and prevent a diabetic foot ulcer.

  1. Inspect your feet on a regular basis.

Many diabetic patients have a condition known as neuropathy, which is a type of nerve damage that prevents you from fully feeling your feet. This means that you can injure your foot without even knowing it, making even a minor injury quite dangerous. Be sure to inspect your feet on a regular basis for any cuts, sores, blisters, calluses, or even scratches. Use a mirror to help you see the bottom of your feet, and be sure to check between your toes as well.

  1. Wash your feet every day.

Make sure to use soap and warm water, and dry them fully when you’re done (including between the toes). Use skin cream or lotion to prevent dry or cracked skin, which can sometimes lead to sores.

  1. Wear comfortable socks and footwear.

Your socks should be nice, cushy, and comfortable, and your shoes should give your feet plenty of room to avoid friction-related blisters or sores. For patients with diabetic neuropathy, it’s often recommended to wear shoes both indoors and outdoors.

  1. Have your toenails trimmed on a regular basis.

Diabetics should only have their nails trimmed by a podiatrist due to the extent of the risk involved. Even nail salons should be off-limits. In light of what a potential injury could lead to, it’s far too important to leave this job to anyone but a qualified professional.