Comprehensive Diabetic Foot Exam
Careful monitoring of the feet is something that is very important for diabetes patients. In addition to checking your feet every day, you should see your podiatrist often for a comprehensive diabetic foot exam. Even the smallest blister, callus, ingrown toenail, cut or sore can develop into a diabetic foot ulcer. When you examine your own feet, you might only know there is a problem if you see redness or a sore, but your doctor can pinpoint potential problems ahead of time and prevent an ulcer from developing.
Diabetes can cause peripheral neuropathy, a reduced ability to heal, and arterial disease. All three of these can put your feet at risk, so diabetic foot care is a necessity. Foot ulcers can lead to infection and even amputation. A comprehensive exam includes inspecting your shoes, the skin on your feet, and foot structure, as well as checking for peripheral neuropathy and peripheral vascular disease. If you have diabetes and would like to schedule a comprehensive exam, call us at 561-793-6170 today to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced Port St. Lucie podiatrists and foot doctors throughout Palm Beach or click here to request an appointment.
What is a Comprehensive Diabetic Foot Exam?
A comprehensive diabetic foot exam has 5 main elements:
- Shoe Assessment. Your podiatrist will perform a careful inspection of your shoes to make sure that they fit properly. Uneven wear on your shoes can indicate that they might cause foot problems that can lead to a diabetic foot ulcer.
- Dermatological Assessment. Besides checking for any apparent ulcers, red spots, or calluses, your doctor will inspect your nails, and the skin on your foot looking for any areas of concern.
- Musculoskeletal Assessment. This is an evaluation of the shape of your feet, taking into consideration the joints and bones underneath. Any deformities such as bunions or hammertoes could begin to cause rubbing that can lead to an ulcer.
- Neurological Assessment. Your podiatrist has special tools to check for any loss of feeling in your feet. Any numbness or loss of feeling in your feet is bad because it can inhibit your ability to feel foot pain. Therefore, you might not be aware of sores or problems that are happening that can lead to diabetic foot ulcers.
- Arterial Assessment. Diabetes can cause the size of your arteries to shrink and also reduce the blood flow through those arteries. Your doctor should evaluate your arteries to make sure that the arteries have not hardened and that blood is flowing freely.
How does a Comprehensive Diabetic Foot Exam Work
A comprehensive diabetic foot exam should be performed as often as recommended by your podiatrist. The exam room should be well lit and involves the 5 assessments listed above. Be sure to remember to check your feet daily in between appointments with your doctor.
A comprehensive diabetic foot exam is for patients with diabetes. Careful foot monitoring is necessary to make sure that any small cuts or sores do not develop into a diabetic foot ulcer. Diabetes can cause other problems that can mean trouble for your feet including peripheral neuropathy, slow healing due to a compromised immune system, and peripheral vascular disease. All three of these can cause complications, including infection and amputation.