Diabetes can lead to itchy skin anywhere on the body (for the reasons why see our blog Does Diabetes Make Your Skin Itch?) but feet are particularly at risk.
One reason why feet are more susceptible to diabetes-related itch is because they’re affected by diabetic peripheral neuropathy. This condition is related to prolonged high glucose levels, so as with any diabetic complication, the best way of managing the itch and looking after your feet, is to control your blood-sugar levels. If you’re not controlling your levels by yourself then talk to your doctor or diabetes nurse as soon as you can.
First check to see what might be causing the itchy: is it bacterial, fungal, dry skin or anything else? If you’re worried or uncertain, ask a healthcare professional! Your feet are precious!
Tips for managing itchy diabetic feet:
- Make checking your feet part of your daily routine and notice any changes
- Keep them clean with an unscented wash
- Wash in warm - not hot - water
- Pat them thoroughly dry
- Use an antimicrobial oil to keep them fresh
- Use ointment on any cracks, blisters or cuts
- Make sure shoes and socks fit well and don’t rub
- Avoid bath products with irritant ingredients like scent or synthetic preservatives
- Don’t apply lotion between your toes, as this increases the likelihood of fungal infections
- Keep baths short and not too hot, and don’t soak itchy feet!
- Use strategies to manage the itch: you don’t want to scratch and cause damage to the skin!
- Keep things cool: a bag of frozen peas, ice towels, cold air fans, gel packs are all good held against itchy skin to cool the itch. Don’t be tempted to soak feet in cold water!
Check yourself regularly for any abnormal patches of skin, whether they’re itchy, blistered, raised, bumpy, extra dry or inflamed. Talk to your diabetic nurse for advice about what treatment might be needed; you might need antifungals or antibiotics.
All the products in our Diabetic Skin Collection are excellent choices for looking after diabetic skin. We’d recommend choosing products that work for different areas of the body.
- Cooling Cream with menthol, aloe, shea butter and lavender to cool itchy lower legs and feet (£19 for 100ml)
- Skin Salvation balm, made with beeswax and hemp seed oil to nourish and soften cracked skin on the feet (from £7.99 for 30ml)
- Daily Moisturising Cream with four biodynamic anti-inflammatory herbal tinctures, plus hemp and shea butter, as a general moisturiser for all-over natural hydration (from £13.99 for 100ml)
- Bath & Body Oil with lavender, hemp and olive, to lock in vital moisture during or after bathing (£12.99 for 200ml)
- Scalp Oil which contains tea tree, rosemary and borage, for managing folliculitis on the scalp or as an antimicrobial foot rub to keep fungal infections at bay (£14.99 for 50ml)
- Tea Tree balm, an antimicrobial tea tree ointment for instant application on minor cuts, grazes, bites, blisters etc. (£4.65 for 15ml)
If you require medical advice we recommend you always contact your healthcare professional.
If you or someone you are caring for seems very unwell, is getting worse or you think there's something seriously wrong, call for emergency services straight away. For general medical advice, please contact your healthcare professional, this article does not contain or replace medical advice.
Do not delay getting help if you're worried. Trust your instincts.