If you would like to discuss your kidney diagnosis with our trained members of staff ring the free to call number 0800 169 0936.

The NKF Helpline is available Monday to Thursday 08:30 am - 5:00 pm Friday 8.30 am – 12.30 pm on 0800 169 09 36 or email [email protected]

Why is kidney disease a risk to your feet? 

Kidney disease is a lifelong condition which can cause life-and limb-threatening problems. Some of these problems can occur because the nerves and blood vessels are damaged. 

This can change: 

-     the circulation in your feet (ischaemia); and
-    the feeling in your feet (peripheral neuropathy).

These changes can be very gradual and you may not notice them. This is why we recommend that you have your feet assessed by a podiatrist every one to two months. You can then agree a treatment plan to suit your needs. 

Your screening and assessment have shown that there is a high risk that you will develop foot ulcers. Your health-care professional will tick which of the following risk factors you have. 

o You have lost some feeling in your feet 

o The circulation in your feet is reduced 

o You have hard skin on your feet 

o The shape of your feet has changed 

o Your vision is affected 

o You cannot look after your feet yourself 

o You have had foot ulcers before 

o You have had an amputation 

o You are on peritoneal dialysis or haemodialysis 

Foot ulcers are breaks in the skin which may be difficult to heal. The development of foot ulcers in people with kidney disease may lead to serious complications and they are linked to an increased risk of heart attacks, strokes, amputations of the foot or leg and early death.

Controlling your cholesterol and blood pressure, quitting smoking, increasing cardiovascular exercise, controlling weight and managing any other conditions you may have (such as diabetes) helps to reduce the risk of these life- and limb-threatening problems. Managing any excess fluid is also important.

Note: You may be at further risk of cardiovascular problems if you have a family history of heart disease.

As your feet are at high risk of foot ulcers, you will need to take extra care of them. You will need regular treatment by a podiatrist. 

If you follow the advice and information provided, it will help you take care of your feet between visits to your podiatrist. Hopefully this will help to reduce problems in the future. 

Please see the high risk foot care leaflet for advice on keeping your feet healthy. 

At the start of each dialysis cycle, you should be asked to remove any footwear and socks or stockings so that your feet can be examined. 

A trained health-care professional will look for any signs of corns, calluses, changes in foot shape and changes in colour or temperature. If you have noticed any changes please let them know. 

The health-care professional should also test your feet for numbness or changes in sensation (neuropathy). 

They will ask you the following questions about your feet and how you manage any other medical condition you may have (for example, diabetes). 

•    Have you had any problems or changes to your feet (for example, cuts, blisters, broken skin or corns)? 

•    Have you had any previous foot problems or wounds to your feet? 

•    Have you experienced any recent pain or discomfort in your feet or legs? 

•    How often do you check your own feet, and what do you look for? 

•    Have you had any cramp-like pains when walking? 

•    How well are you managing any other condition (for example, diabetes)? 

The health-care professional should also examine your footwear to make sure it is not causing you any problems. 

At the end of the foot check, the health-care professional will tell you the results and give you advice about caring for your feet and your risk of foot problems. 

Following your foot screening you may be referred to a podiatrist, who can help protect your feet during your dialysis treatment. 
You may be advised to wear special protective boots during your period of dialysis. If you are given these, we strongly recommend that you bring them to every dialysis session to help reduce the risk of your feet developing problems due to pressure from the couch.


It is important that you attend all of your appointments with the Foot Protection Team or specialist podiatrist, as well as your other medical and renal review appointments. This will reduce the risk of problems developing. 

What should I do if I have a concern or problem with my feet?

If you develop any of the following problems, it is important that you contact your Multi-disciplinary Foot Care Team, local Podiatry Department of GP for advice as soon as possible (within 24 hours).  

A red/discoloured, hot, swollen toe or foot   

A break in the skin that doesn’t heal   

New redness or discolouration of your toe or foot  

New or unexplained pain in your foot

If they are not available, go to your nearest accident and emergency department. Remember, any delay in getting advice of treatment when you have a problem can lead to serious problems.

Developed by the London Foot Care Strategic Clinical Network and the London Renal Strategic Clinical Network with help from service users
Based on the original leaflet produced by the Scottish Diabetes Group – Foot Action Group
Owned by the Royal College of Podiatry ©                       
Published date: Month,  May 2024         
Review date: Month, May 2027

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The National Kidney Federation cannot accept any responsibility for the information provided. The above is for guidance only. Patients are advised to seek further information from their own doctor.