5 Steps to Perform Your Own Diabetic Foot Exam
When you live with diabetes, there are a lot of things you have to remember to do to care for yourself. One thing, however, is possibly the single most effective way you can help protect your feet at home from injuries that develop into ulcers: a diabetic foot self-exam. This simple home care allows you to catch problems early so you can get immediate treatment, instead of discovering things late and having a higher risk for infections and complications. Diabetic wounds develop quickly. Because of a weakened immune system and issues with peripheral neuropathy, it’s quite common for you to get a blister or tiny cut without noticing, and for the pressure from walking and being active to make that worse. In a relatively short period of time, it can degenerate into a wound, which can risk serious infections. While there are ways you can prevent those tiny injuries from forming, one of the most important things you can do is inspect your feet for damage every day. That way, you can immediately catch anything that does crop up and take care of the problem before it has time to worsen. Knowing how to perform a basic, daily diabetic foot self-exam is important. Here are a few tips to help yourself, or to help a family member who may need assistance:
- Look at the whole foot – Carefully look over and inspect the tops, soles, and sides of both feet. If you cannot see your soles easily, use a mirror or ask for help. Look for cuts, bruises, blisters, discoloration, callus build-up, or anything abnormal.
- Check between toes – Inspect between each of your toes for small injuries and skin changes as well.
- Feel for changes – Run your hands over your feet to feel for changes you might not see easily, like lumps, bumps, and cold spots.
- Wash your feet – Use this time to wash off old dirt and grime to fight infection risks.
- Track changes – If you notice anything, write it down and contact your foot specialist for a closer look.
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