Everything You Need To Know About Diabetic Foot Exams
Living with diabetes means you are susceptible to a higher rate of certain health risks, and that is especially true when it comes to foot health. For this reason it is recommended to consult your primary care physician or a podiatrist at least ONCE a year to prevent any serious complications that can come about. A diabetic foot exam is performed to check for injury, infection, and bone abnormalities that can cause issues in the near future. Another symptom they look out for is signs of nerve damage which would be any feelings of numbness or tingling, also referred to as neuropathy. This is one of the most common symptoms among diabetics that reduces blood flow, which is necessary to fight off infections and heal from injuries! Below are a few things that can be expected during a routine foot exam.
A General Assessment
Your health provider will go over your general medical history, and ask if you’ve had any prior issues regarding your feet. They will also check your footwear to assure it is properly fitting to prevent any injuries such as calluses, blisters, or even ulcers. Once the general questions are answered the examiner will then take a look at the skin on your feet to check for signs of dryness, crackling, or any cracks to the toenails for signs of fungal infection.
A Neurological Exam
Next will be a series of tests that assess any possible nerve damage such as using a tuning fork against your foot to assure that you can feel the vibrations it is producing. Other tests include a pinprick test where they gently poke your foot, or a monofilament test, where they will brush a soft nylon fiber over your feet and toes to test sensitivity and reflexes. All of these are to guarantee that proper blood flow is present, and that there is no current nerve damage to the feet.
Between exams we suggest looking after your feet as well! This means washing and examining them daily, keeping your blood sugar in check, wiggling your toes to promote blood flow, and most importantly…DON’T SMOKE!