Tips for Performing a Foot Exam
Last updated: September 2022
One of the most problematic complications for diabetics is ulcers and sores, and the most common spot is on the foot. The combination of nerve damage to the legs and feet, impaired healing ability, and difficulty in visualizing the foot can make for a deadly combination. All it takes is a small cut, puncture, or scrape that goes unnoticed to start a cascade of problematic events. The easiest way to prevent this from happening is daily foot exams.
Tips for doing a foot exam
While some people have the flexibility to contort to visualize the entire foot easily, I am not one of them. I have come up with a few ways to examine my feet.
Feel the foot
One of the quickest ways is to feel my foot. I can slowly go over my foot and between my toes to feel for any irregularities or spots that I want to get a better look at. This should not be used as the only exam as you can easily miss small problems that are new. However, if this is your only option, it is better than nothing.
Have someone else check your feet
Another easy way that doesn’t involve much movement or flexibility is to have another person check them for you. It is best if it is the same person each day, but anyone you trust will do. Make sure to instruct them they are looking for small imperfections as well as big or obvious ones. If you are OCD or not super trusting of non-medical professionals to inspect your feet, or you don’t have the same person looking every day, I would ask these people to take pictures of the bottom and sides of your feet, along with anywhere else you can’t easily see. This way you can look at your own feet pictures and can determine what is worthy of a doctor’s appointment or some extra attention to make sure it heals properly.
Check your feet using a mirror
If you live by yourself there are two alternatives to someone else looking at your feet. The first is using a mirror. You will have the ability to look at all different angles to check every bit of your foot. You can also use this in combination with feeling your foot to find areas you want to inspect more closely. The only issue with a mirror that you may have is how close you have to be to get a good look and that could compromise your ability to see smaller problems or weird angles.
Check your feet using photos
The last trick to checking your feet if you are by yourself is to take a picture. I am not talking about an awkward foot selfie with you holding the camera trying to snap the perfect picture. Most, if not all smartphones have the ability to set a delayed timer for a picture. You can set the front-facing camera so you can see the picture you will take on the screen. Next, set the timer for at least seven to ten seconds to give you time to place the camera on the ground and position your foot over it. In this time, you can position your foot exactly how you want the picture to be taken. Do this for each foot and you now have a great picture of the bottom of your feet you can zoom in on to inspect.
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