January 31


Should We Soak Our Feet If We Have Diabetes?

By Gabriela

January 31, 2018

Soaking our feet can help soothe the pain and relax the feet. Furthermore, a warm salty bath may be ideal for improving the blood circulation. But, what about preventing diabetic foot infections?

Unfortunately, soaking feet might cause inflammation and increase the pain in those with diabetic foot problems. Unlike tired feet, these problems are chronic and can’t be treated with a simple soak. Soaking can only help provide short-term pain relief.

But, it can’t be used for treating chronic pain. Furthermore, the feet of these people often have infections that require medical treatment. Therefore, it is best to consult with a doctor if we have persistent and reoccurring foot pain.

Can a Person with The Chronic Illness Use a Foot Spa?

The answer is No.

Sadly, if we have diabetes, soaking the feet for a long time is not effective for soothing chronic pain. Furthermore, it might even damage the nerves and muscles. In fact, even if the feet become softer in the water, they became dry and cracked once we stop soaking them.

In addition, when the water evaporates, the skin becomes drier than ever before. Plus, if we use herbs or salt balls in the water, the feet might even become drier. Why? Well, this condition makes feet drier than normal.

Therefore, excessive drying from soaking can cause even more pain and skin cracks. Furthermore, there is a chance that warm water might even increase the inflammation. So, unless we are experiencing short-term feet pain, we shouldn’t use a foot spa.

What to Use?

Instead of a foot spa, we can use better treatment. Many doctors recommend moisturizing the feet with an ointment or a lotion. This will keep the feet moisturized and soft.

Diabetic Feet

The reason why foot spa may not be good for our health is that it can damage the nerves, which in turn can cause neuropathy. The symptoms of neuropathy are:

  • gradual numbness
  • tingling or pricking in the feet
  • sharp pain, freezing, or jabbing
  • loss of balance
  • extreme sensitivity to touch

Since the longest nerves in the body are in the feet, they are the most affected by neuropathy than the rest of the body.

Why Should These People Avoid Foot Soaks

Many complications might occur from nerve damage, especially after long foot soaks. For example:

  • We probably won’t know if the water is too hot or cold. Therefore, we might hurt ourselves without noticing.
  • The hot water can increase inflammation.
  • After a long soak, the feet might become drier than before. The reason why this happens is that the feet of these people are drier than normal and can cause pain.
  • The skin might crack even more.

As a result, many recommend avoiding foot soaks if we have diabetes.

An Alternative

There are more beneficial ways we can use instead of a foot spa. The best ones are the following:

  • Feet massages (It is always a good idea to massage our feet with a simple hand massage. This way we can boost circulation.)
  • Using moisturizers or lotions (Do NOT apply moisturizers between the toes. The toes should remain dry.)
  • Wiggle the toes (Rotate the ankles for about 5 minutes to keep the feet active.)


  • Gabriela

    Co-Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Diabetes Health Page, Fitness trainer and instructor has dedicated her career to educating and informing people for over 10 years. As one of the most passionate diabetes advocates, Gabi has worked tirelessly to ensure that those people receive the education and support they need to properly manage their diabetes and achieve their health, fitness and weight loss goals.

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