How to Give Yourself an At Home Diabetic Foot Exam
If you are one of the 29.1 million Americans who suffer from diabetes, giving yourself routine at-home foot exams are paramount to ensuring your feet are in tip-top shape in between doctor visits.
To help you keep a proper eye on your feet and to prevent the development of diabetic ulcers, the podiatrists at Triad Foot Center offer these tips on how to properly examine your feet at home:
Step 1: Clean Your Feet
Before starting your foot exam, first wash your feet with soap and water to remove any dirt and bacteria that may have accumulated during the day. This may sound like basic, but you’d be surprised how little attention feet receive when bathing. Be sure to take extra time to thoroughly clean the entire foot.
Step 2: Dry Your Feet
After washing your feet, be sure to completely dry them. Pay extra attention to the area between the toes. Moisture trapped in this area is a breeding ground for bacteria.
Step 3: Get Into Position
Sit down and cross one leg over the opposite leg so you can easily see your foot. The supporting leg should be placed firmly on the ground in front of you. If you have a hard time getting your leg crossed, try using a low stool or foot rest to prop your foot up to the side so you can see the bottom of it.
Step 4: Look at the Bottom of your Foot
Turn your ankle slightly so you can see the bottom of your foot. If you’re unable to see the bottom of your foot, use a handheld mirror with a longer handle to see the reflection. Be sure not to overextend your ankle.
Look for any bumps or irregular textures on the ball, soles and heels of the feet. If you notice anything irregular or notice any pain while examining your feet, be sure to contact a podiatrist for a follow-up. Repeat with other foot.
Step 5: Touch Test
Use both hands to feel your foot for any bumps or temperature differences from one part of the foot to the other. Does one part of your foot feel warm to the touch, and another part feel cold? This may indicate circulation problems or nerve conditions such as neuropathy. Repeat with other foot.
Step 6: Top of Foot Visual Inspection
Visually check for any abnormalities on the top of your feet, like scabs, bruises or corns. Any open wounds should be treated immediately, as individuals with diabetes can get infections from the most basic of injuries. Also examine your toes and toenails for unusual coloration, lengths or ingrown toenails. Hairless feet, thin or shiny skin may signal an issue with the amount of blood flow your feet are receiving.
Step 7: Check Your Toes
Separate each toe with your fingers and examine the area between each of your toes. Again, check for any open sores, blisters, scrapes or other injuries.
To check your blood flow, gently squeeze the balls of your toes and release. Your normal color should reappear within five seconds, but if it doesn’t, it could mean possible circulatory problems are present. Repeat with other foot.
Step 8: Track Your Exam
If you notice any unusual symptoms such as sores, corns, discoloration or unusual temperature changes, be sure to write down your findings. Then compare your notes from past exams you’ve had with a podiatrist. If anything has worsened or new symptoms have arisen, make an appointment with your podiatrist for a full evaluation.
For more information about diabetic foot health or to make an appointment with one of the podiatrists at Triad Foot Center, please call 336-375-6690 or click here to request an appointment.
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