Diabetes

Here’s What Happens When You Have a Diabetic Foot Assessment

diabetic foot assessment

Did you know that if you suffer from diabetes, it’s important to have your feet regularly assessed by a foot specialist, like a podiatrist?

When someone has diabetes, it means that there is an increased amount of glucose in the bloodstream. Glucose is essential for providing us with energy, however, when there is too much of it, or the body is unable to produce the right amount of insulin to convert the glucose into energy, so you end up with higher amounts of glucose in the bloodstream.

These high levels of glucose can cause nerve damage and impact the way blood is supplied in your body. What this means for your feet is that if your feet aren’t taken care of properly, you could experience a variety of issues, including wounds that won’t heal and a lack of feeling in your feet.

To help you manage your condition and the health of your feet, it is vital that you have a diabetic foot assessment by a podiatrist. But what exactly happens in a diabetic foot assessment? Well, keep reading to find out.

Step 1. Visual Assessment

The first step for a podiatrist when working with a patient who has diabetes, is to assess their feet visually.

This is usually to check for any noticeable changes in appearance, such as colouring, skin condition and for any cuts, scratches, sores, or wounds.

This assessment is usually the quickest step of the process.

Step 2. Vascular Assessment

As we touched on earlier, diabetes and the presence of high levels of glucose in the bloodstream can impact the blood supply in your body.

During this part of the assessment, the podiatrist will look for the two main pulses that are present in the feet. This is to see whether the pulse is strong, weak, or irregular.

The visual assessment may indicate some signs that there are issues with the supply of blood around the body, however, it’s during the Vascular assessment where this is looked into in more detail.

Through a doppler ultrasound, the podiatrist will be able to see how well the blood is flowing through the arteries in your feet.

Step 3. Neurological Assessment

When people suffer from diabetes, it can be common for them to experience a variety of different feelings in the feet including but not limited to, hypersensitivity, burning sensations, pins and needles, tingling, numbness or even a loss of feeling.

Before the physical portion of this assessment, your podiatrist will ask you questions about any feelings or sensations in your feet.

Then once you’ve answered some questions, they will perform two tests to get an idea of how your feet are feeling and performing.

The first test is called a monofilament test. This is where a device is used to apply pressure to various parts of the foot. The pressure is quite light, usually around 10 grams, and the idea behind this test is for you to advise when you start to feel this pressure.

The second test is one that tests the sensation in the foot and is a vibration test. Your foot will have a neurothesiometer placed in four spots. This device will send a vibrating sensation to your feet, and you need to indicate when you feel the sensation.

Step 4. Dermatological Assessment

This assessment is somewhat similar to the first visual assessment, but just in a lot more detail.

Focusing on the skin and nails of your feet, this assessment will take time to see the condition of the skin and how well the blood is circulating in your body. For your skin to be healthy, it needs a good blood flow.

During this assessment, the podiatrist will look for common skin and feet conditions like ingrown nails, corns, warts, blisters, and calluses and perform any required work on them. The podiatrist does this because if you are having complications or difficulties due to your diabetes, if the removal of a corn, for example, is not performed properly, it can lead to a serious chronic wound.

As you can see, a diabetic foot assessment is a thorough process that is so important for people who have diabetes. Even when you’re managing your condition properly, it’s best to work with a podiatrist who is experienced and understanding when it comes to diabetes.

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