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HealthInfo Waitaha Canterbury

Foot care when travelling

Tiakitanga waewae ina āmio haere ana

Diabetes can affect the nerves and blood supply to your feet. This can cause problems like infections and ulcers. When you're travelling, you'll need to be particularly careful to avoid foot problems.


If you discover any problems with your feet, contact your podiatrist or general practice team immediately. If they aren't available, go to your nearest after-hours clinic. Remember, any delay in getting advice or treatment when you have a problem can lead to serious problems.

How to keep your feet healthy on holiday

On the journey

Long journeys can make your feet swell. Try to walk about every half hour if possible. Even a short distance will help. This will keep the circulation moving and keep swelling down. Remember, your feet may swell in the heat, so make sure your shoes aren't too tight.

Check your feet every day

You should check your feet at least once a day for any blisters, breaks in the skin, pain or any signs of infection such as swelling, heat or redness, just as you would at home.

Wash your feet every day

Wash your feet every day in warm water and mild soap. Rinse them thoroughly and dry them carefully, especially between your toes.

Moisturise your feet every day

If your skin is dry, apply a moisturising cream every day, avoiding the areas between your toes. You may need to apply extra moisturising cream if your skin gets very dry in hot or cold weather.


Carry on cutting your toenails as your podiatrist has advised you to.

Avoid walking barefoot

Always wear footwear, even on the beach. The sand can become very warm and you may burn your feet without realising. If you go into the sea, wear some sort of footwear, such as plastic shoes to protect your feet.

Avoid wearing flip-flop-type footwear (jandals) as they may cause blisters between your toes.

Prescription shoes

If you've got prescription shoes, do not wear any other shoes during your holiday (except when you're in the sea).

Minor cuts and blisters

Take a small first-aid kit containing sterile gauze dressings and tape. If you get a small blister, cut or graze, use diluted antiseptic on a gauze swab to clean the wound and tape on a dry sterile gauze dressing. Do not use cotton wool.

Avoid high or low temperatures

Protect your feet from sunburn with a high-factor sun protection cream (factor 30 or above) or keep them covered. Do not use dark-coloured materials to protect your feet, as they absorb heat, and you could burn your feet.

On the next page: Travel checklist for people with diabetes

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed November 2022.


See also

Diabetes & feet

Diabetic neuropathy

Page reference: 84718

Review key: HIDIA-21832