Diabetic Foot Exam

What is a Diabetic Foot Exam?

People with diabetes are at higher risk for a variety of foot health problems. A diabetic foot exam provides detailed information about the possibility of infection, injury, and bone abnormalities. Two of the most common foot conditions that affect patients with neuropathy are nerve damage, known as neuropathy, and poor circulation (blood flow).

Neuropathy: your feet feel numb or tingle, with the potential to also cause a loss of feeling in your feet. The danger associated with this condition is that you may suffer a foot injury like an open wound or sore, and feel no pain, allowing the injury to worsen or become infected.

Poor circulation: severely affects your ability to fight off infection and heal from foot injuries. This aspect becomes dangerous because foot infections have been known to be so serious, that they may eventually require amputation.

When Should I Get a Diabetic Foot Exam?

Diabetic patients should get at least one foot-exam per year, becoming more frequent if your condition worsens or you present any of the following symptoms:

  • Tingling
  • Numbness
  • Pain
  • Burning sensation
  • Swelling
  • Pain and difficulty when walking

Immediate action should be taken (call an expert) if you are showing any of the following symptoms, as I may mean you are experiencing an infection:

  • A blister, cut, or sore that doesn’t start to heal after a few days
  • A foot injury that feels warm to the touch
  • A callus with dried blood inside it
  • Gangrene – a sore with tissue that has turned black and has a bad odor. If not treated quickly and completely, gangrene can lead to foot amputation or even death.

What to Expect From a Diabetic Foot Exam?

General assessment

  • Questions about your health history and previous foot concerns
  • Examine and review your choice of footwear, whether it is the source of your foot condition

Dermatological assessment

  • Look for various skin problems, including: 
    • Dryness 
    • Cracking 
    • Calluses 
    • Blisters 
    • Ulcers
  • Check the toenails for fungal infection.
  • Check for fungal infection.

Neurologic Assessments

  • Monofilament test – Using a soft nylon fiber called a monofilament, your doctor will brush over your foot and toes to test your touch sensitivity.
  • Pinprick test – Your provider will gently poke the bottom of your foot with a small pin to test your sensation.
  • Ankle reflexes – checked by tapping on your foot with a small mallet. 

Musculoskeletal Assessment

  • Conduct tests that reveal the structure and ensure proper function of the foot and ankle

Vascular Assessment

  • Ensure there is proper blood flow and circulation throughout the foot and ankle.

Diabetic Foot Exam in Algonquin, Illinois

If you have any additional questions or are ready to meet with an expert, reach out to the team at Foot and Ankle Specialists of Illinois for a consultation. Call our offices or schedule an appointment online today!


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