Overview Of the Diabetic Foot Exam
People with diabetes can make up a large number of the patient population in a podiatrist’s office. Diabetes can have dire consequences on a person’s health through manifestations in the foot coupled with peripheral vascular disease and neuropathy which can lead to ulcerations, infections and possible limb loss.
It is prudent healthcare practice upon the diagnosis of diabetes that a visit to the podiatrist for a diabetic foot exam should be a top priority.
A diabetic foot exam essentially consists of a number of non-invasive components. The podiatrist will examine the skin and nails looking for wounds, dryness, changes in temperature, color, nail thickness, length and other findings.
The patients pulse in the foot and ankle will be assessed, sometimes with the aid of a device called a doppler to help “listen” for a pulse if one cannot be felt. The podiatrist will also assess the patient’s threshold of protective sensation using a specially weighted monofilament at various areas on the foot along with sharp/dull and vibratory sensation testing. The patient’s reflexes, muscle strength, range of motion, foot type, any deformities of the foot and toes, gait, fall-risk and shoe-gear will also be examined.
It’s crucial to not neglect your feet if you are a diabetic. Regular foot exams, checking your feet every day for cuts, scrapes and blisters, wearing shoes and clean socks daily, moisturizing the skin and proper glycemic control with diet and exercise will go a long way in the health of your feet.