The Importance of Feet Checks for the Diabetics

Updated: Oct 15, 2020



As a Certified fitter of orthotics and therapeutic shoes, the majority of the patients that I see are diabetic and come into the clinic for diabetic shoes and inserts. Many of the patients have been living with diabetes for years and have been lucky enough to avoid sores, swelling corns and the dreaded callus while others deal with the stubborn, often times reoccurring, thick skin that has the potential to be a red flag for ulceration. HOWEVER, whether the patient has corn or callus free skin on their feet or not, I am often hit with the same scary "What are feet checks?" question from both sides of the spectrum. So, what are feet checks? Feet checks are exactly what they sound like so if ogling your feet as a diabetic did not interest you before, hopefully it will after you continue to read. A routine look at your feet daily can be crucial for the health of diabetic feet. According to the Centers for Disease control (CDC) and Prevention article titled Diabetes and Your Feet, "About half of all people with diabetes have some kind of diabetic neuropathy." For those who do not know, diabetic neuropathy is nerve damage. Nerve damage is prone to affect any part of the body, however, it is most common in diabetics for it to attack the feet and legs and sometimes even hands. The CDC article states "Some people with nerve damage have numbness, tingling, or pain," however, depending on the severity of the nerve damage, complete loss of feeling is possible. With loss of feeling in the feet it is easy for them to be injured or develop damage to the skin on the numbed extremity without even knowing it, which in turn brings us back full circle to routine checks. What exactly are you looking for? Checking on the diabetic foot is surprisingly simple; it is so simple in fact that the answer to the question is one word, change. Change of temperature of the feet to the touch: Hot can indicate infection, while cold can indicate poor blood circulation Change in color of skin and toenails: Redness of the skin can indicate irritation, irritation can lead to blisters, corns, and/or callusing which in turn can lead to diabetic ulceration. Yellowing, thickened toenails indicate fungus and blackening of toenails may indicate trauma. Change in moisture of the feet or the lack there of: Both can cause build of bacteria/fungus and increase chances of fissures and infection (Be sure to check in between your toes as well!). Change in volume of the legs and feet or the change in the shape of your feet overall: Change in volume indicates swelling/edema. One might even experience shiny skin or loss of hair on their legs or toes which is also an indication of swelling. Change in the shape of the foot may indicate Charcot (fracture in the feet). Though it is clear that there are several tasks that one must take on as a diabetic to improve your general heath, checking on your feet can be one of the most important and simplest steps that can be taken as a preventative to amputation. It is also very important that if any of these changes have taken place that you call your diabetic doctor or your primary care physician right away. https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/library/features/healthy-feet.html


By: Moriah Griffin, Certified Orthotic Fitter at Bionic

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