Managing Diabetes: Focus On Your Feet
Most diabetics know they should get an eye exam every year. But did you know it’s also vital to get an annual comprehensive diabetic FOOT exam? Consider the following facts:
Every day in this country, there are about 230 amputations.
Major amputations most often start with an ulcer of the FOOT.
A simple, annual exam can help lower your risk factors for amputation by up to 85%.
A Comprehensive Diabetic Foot Exam Could Save Your Feet — Maybe Your Life.
Everyone who has diabetes should have an annual Comprehensive Diabetic Foot Exam. This is an in-depth exam of the foot by our podiatrists, who have a specialty in the area of diabetic foot care. The exam goes far beyond a standard foot exam, to identify conditions that put the foot at risk of developing ulcers or infections which could lead to amputation. Having the exam annually allows doctors to see if there are changes in your feet from year to year, which could indicate the need for medical attention.
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In a comprehensive diabetic foot exam, we look closely at circulation in the feet, as well as the nerves that provide feeling to the feet. This is a crucial part of the exam because decreased circulation and loss of feeling in the feet are the two conditions responsible for the most amputations. We'll also assess the condition of the skin and check for foot deformities that could increase the chance of infection. Even toenails are evaluated, because thickened toenails can cause pressure ulcers.
If you are a diabetic, please make sure to have a Comprehensive Diabetic Foot Exam once a year — even if you don't have a history of foot problems. It's the best way to catch foot problems early on, when intervention is most effective, and when we have the best chance of preventing a foot problem from developing into a major health threat.
The podiatrists at The Foot & Ankle Center are experts in the diagnosis, treatment and management of foot disorders caused by diabetes. Even if you have a regular podiatrist, the Foot & Ankle Center can still be a vital member of your diabetes care team.
What Your Comprehensive Diabetic Foot Exam Includes
Quantitative sensory testing. This non-invasive, pain-free assessment measures the physical stimuli required for a patient to experience sensory perception. Since this testing is quantitative, we can accurately track the progression of nerve damage and institute appropriate preventative care.
Pressure analysis. Because diabetics sometimes have limited sensation in their feet, they may not feel areas of excessive pressure. Left untreated, these problem areas may cause permanent damage. By locating pressure points, we can recommend special shoes or insoles to alleviate pressure and prevent future problems.
Screening for arterial disease. When blood vessels narrow and harden, they reduce the flow of blood to the feet and legs, which may injure tissue and nerves and cause limb-threatening lesions. Diabetics are at high risk for arterial disease and, although common, it is often overlooked in typical medical exams. At the Foot & Ankle Center, we use an advanced vascular analyzer that will measure blood flow into your feet. This test is painless and helps in the early detection of arterial disease.
Detailed orthopedic exam. During your Comprehensive Diabetic Foot Exam, our podiatrists will thoroughly examine the structure of your feet to identify and document even minor deformities that may potentially cause future foot problems.
Footwear evaluation. Our certified pedorthist (footwear specialist) will evaluate your current footwear for proper fit and recommend modifications if needed.