Diabetic Foot Assessment
A diabetic foot exam includes an assessment of the skin, foot joints, and toenails, nerve sensation testing, circulation assessment, and range of motion, or flexibility of the feet and toes. Issues such as impaired circulation (blood flow), and neuropathy, which is a type of nerve damage, are common foot issues among people with Diabetes.
Why do you need a diabetic foot exam?
If you have Diabetes, it may be a good idea to get your feet checked out at least once per year. If you experience any of the following symptoms, it may be time for a closer look:
- Burning sensation
- Pain and difficulty when walking
When you experience a foot injury of any kind, even as small as a splinter or blister, immediate first aid is essential. Clean the area, apply an antibacterial or first aid ointment or cream and a bandage, and seek medical attention (call your doctor) immediately if any of the following occur:
- A blister, cut, or another foot injury that doesn’t start to heal after a few days
- A foot injury or area of your foot that feels warmer when you touch it, compared to the skin around it or even your other foot
- Redness around a foot injury
- An injury or wound that smells unusual or unpleasant
What happens during a diabetic foot exam?
A foot care nurse provides a diabetic foot exam at our St. Catharines Foot Care Clinic. The exam usually includes the following:
- General assessment:
– A short discussion about your health history and any previous problems you’ve had with your feet.
- Skin assessment:
– checking the feet – all around and between the toes for issues such as dryness, cracking, calluses, corns, blisters, and ulcerations
– checking the toenails for any signs of fungal infection, ingrowing or other toenail issues
- Neurologic (sensation) assessment:
– 10g Monofilament test. This test uses a small nylon filament similar to fishing string to test your feet for responsiveness to sensation. Ten spots on each foot are tested – this is a non-invasive and comfortable test – not painful at all.
– Sometimes, the foot care nurse will use a tuning fork (the kind musicians use) to test foot sensation
- Musculoskeletal assessment.
Your foot care nurse will:
– Assess the shape and structure of your foot.
– complete short range of motion assessments of your feet and toes