Always Remember the Basics

If you don't know 'em, it's time to learn 'em.

Joy Pape By Joy Pape, RN, BSN, CDE, WOCN, CFCN

Q: My name is Debbie. I am 51 years old. I was diagnosed about 1 year ago or close to that. My question is I have a hard place on the ball of my right foot. It has been there for years. I went to a doctor a few years back. He said my foot just needed to be scraped, so he scraped it. It keeps coming back. I have put wart medicine on it, scraped it, put band-aids on it. It keeps coming back. Can you help me?

Hi Debbie,
It sounds like you have a callus on your foot. It's not unusual for people with diabetes to form calluses. Just because it's not unusual, it doesn't mean that calluses can't be serious. People with diabetes are at increased risk for amputations. If calluses are not taken care of properly, they can be the cause of an amputation. Read on to learn more about calluses and what you and other people with diabetes should and shouldn't do when it comes to calluses and overall foot care.

A callus is a thick hard area of dead, dry, hard skin. You usually see them on the balls of your feet, the heels of your feet, or inside your big toes. Calluses actually form to try to help these areas of your feet, but they actually hurt rather than help.

When you have areas of pressure or repeated friction, calluses form to protect the area from more trauma, except it doesn't end up working that way. Instead of protecting your foot, the callus acts like a foreign object. It acts like a rock. The more you walk on the callus, even more pressure builds up inside your foot. This pressure can cause tissue damage from the inside. You may not even know it until you see a darkened area in your callus, which means you have a sore that was or is bleeding. Or, you might see blood on your skin, in your sock or shoe, or on the floor. This is one reason people with diabetes are instructed to wear white socks…so they can see if there is any blood or drainage. If you have peripheral neuropathy, which is a complication of diabetes, you wouldn't be able to feel it, so it's important for you or a loved one to look at your feet daily, the number one "do" of taking care of your feet. Every person with diabetes should know how to take care of his or her feet. Knowing and doing these things are the basics of preventing amputations.

There are certain "rules" for taking care of your feet. Many times, when we break one of the "rules," we break more than one. Check out and start following The Do's and Don'ts of Footcare. You'll learn how to properly care for your calluses, get answers to your questions, learn what to do and what not to do, so you can take care of your feet for a lifetime.


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NOTE: The information is not intended to be a replacement or substitute for consultation with a qualified medical professional or for professional medical advice related to diabetes or another medical condition. Please contact your physician or medical professional with any questions and concerns about your medical condition.

Last Modified Date: July 08, 2013

All content on is created and reviewed in compliance with our editorial policy.

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by Brenda Bell
Many people say that depression is a side effect or complication of diabetes. Without discounting the association of the psychological condition with the physical one, I'm not convinced that our high and/or unstable glucose levels are directly responsible for that change in our mental state. My belief is that the unrelenting need for self-care, for following the sort of care schedules that can drive licensed, professional caregivers crazy, is what overwhelms us...
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