A simple 2-minute exam can determine if a patient is at risk for foot ulcers. The easiest way to remember to get your feet checked is to remove your shoes and socks in the examining room before the doctor even comes in.
Many diabetic patients are vulnerable to foot ulcerations caused by poor circulation in the lower extremities and neuropathy that inhibits nerve sensation. Ulcerations are in fact the leading cause of foot amputations among people with diabetes and they are preventable in most cases if doctors routinely check their patient's feet.
It is estimated that more than 86,000 lower extremity amputations are performed in the U.S. every year on patients with diabetes. More than 70 percent are caused by foot ulcerations that deteriorate to deep tissue infection, tissue necrosis and gangrene.
In foot exams, patients should be checked for nerve sensation, skin irregularities (corns, calluses, punctures and areas of redness), swelling, drainage and foot deformities that cause unnatural pressure points that are prone to ulceration.
Individuals at risk for foot ulcers should have their feet checked every 2 to 3 months, but all diabetic patients should be checked at least twice a year.