Diabetic Foot Screening


Diabetic Foot Screening

Why You Should Have Routine Foot Exams

People with diabetes are at increased risk for a condition called neuropathy. Caused by high blood sugar, diabetic neuropathy damages the nerves, resulting in pain and numbness over time, most often in the legs and feet.

When untreated or uncontrolled, diabetic neuropathy can lead to serious consequences, like amputation. But it can be prevented by managing your disease.

A foot check at your annual wellness visit and a yearly visit with your podiatrist can help to identify problems early. Keeping your blood sugar in the target range as much as possible is the most important thing you can do to prevent nerve damage or stop it from getting worse.

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What to Expect During Your Foot Exam

Clinician performing examination of patient's foot

A foot exam is painless and typically takes no more than 30 minutes. You can expect your provider to do the following:

  • Review your medical history and medications
  • Conduct a basic exam, which may include feeling your feet, skin, and nails, looking at circulation, performing a reflex test, and checking for temperature sensation
  • Possibly order additional tests, such as imaging, nerve function tests, or a biopsy to better understand the overall health of your feet and make tailored recommendations for you

If your doctor observes neuropathy, they will make treatment and prevention recommendations. Ensuring your blood glucose is within the target range is the most important thing you can do to prevent neuropathy or prevent it from getting worse. Diabetes education can help you with a tailored plan to manage your blood glucose.

Diabetic Neuropathy Warning Signs

Call your doctor if you experience the following symptoms. Do not wait for your next appointment:

  • Pain in your legs or cramping in your buttocks, thighs, or calves during physical activity
  • Tingling, burning, or pain in your feet
  • Loss of sense of touch or ability to feel heat or cold very well
  • A change in the shape of your feet over time
  • Loss of hair on your toes, feet, and lower legs
  • Dry, cracked skin on your feet
  • A change in the color and temperature of your feet
  • Thickened, yellow toenails
  • Fungus infections, such as athlete’s foot, between your toes
  • A blister, sore, ulcer, infected corn, or ingrown toenail

Nearly half of people with diabetic peripheral neuropathy may not have symptoms. Preventive care and regular checks are essential. 

If you don't already have a foot doctor, click here to see specialists in your area (under specialty, select podiatry) or call 231-935-0951.