5 Steps for Performing Your Own Diabetic Foot Check

Oct 30, 2023
misc image
Having diabetes and nerve damage can put you at risk for foot complications such as sores and infections. You can mitigate some of these complications by performing a daily foot exam. We list the steps for a thorough diabetic foot check here.

When you have diabetes, you’re at increased risk for nerve damage, referred to as diabetic neuropathy. Up to 50% of people living with diabetes struggle with neuropathy. 

This diabetes-related condition can affect different areas of your body, including your feet — a condition called peripheral neuropathy. When the nerves in your feet are damaged, you have reduced feeling — or no feeling in your feet. Minor problems like cuts, blisters, or ingrown toenails can go unnoticed and untreated, leading to an infection.

At FootCare Specialists, Inc. in San Mateo, California, David J. Kaplan, DPM, has extensive experience in diabetic wound and foot care. He believes it’s critical for people with diabetes to check their feet daily to prevent small problems from becoming serious issues. Here, we explain how.

The five steps of a daily diabetic foot check

Keep your feet clean, and change your socks daily. Once a day, perform a thorough check of your feet. If you have trouble examining your feet, try using a mirror or asking a family member to help you.

1. Touch and feel your feet

Because not all foot problems are readily visible, it’s a good idea to use your hands to feel for any bumps, cool spots, lumps, or rough spots.

2. Examine your entire foot

When you perform a foot check, look at each foot in its entirety. Check not only the top but also the soles and sides of your feet. Things to look for include cuts, blisters, thickened skin (calluses), or bruises.

3. Don’t forget to check between your toes

It’s easy for cuts and other injuries to hide between your toes, particularly if you have dry, cracked skin. Carefully look between your toes for broken skin, wounds, or blisters. 

4. Wash your feet

Keeping your feet clear of dirt and grime is a key component of fighting off potential infection. Wash your feet daily with warm water and thoroughly pat them dry — don’t scrub or rub roughly. 

5. Make note of any changes

If you notice anything concerning during your foot check, call our office to set up an appointment. Dr. Kaplan can examine your feet thoroughly and perform any necessary treatment.

Be proactive about protecting your feet

To keep your feet healthy and free of wounds, we recommend taking the following precautions to protect your feet:

Never go barefoot: Always wear socks and shoes or slippers, even when inside.

Choose shoes that fit you well: Dr. Kaplan can help narrow down your options or make some recommendations. He may also suggest custom orthotics to help with any gait issues.  

Trim toenails correctly: Cutting straight across and smoothing sharp edges with a nail file helps prevent ingrown toenails.

Don’t attempt to treat foot problems alone: Make an appointment if you notice corns, calluses, and ingrown toenails to avoid further complications or self-injury.

When you should get professional care

Seek professional podiatric care with Dr. Kaplan right away if you notice any of these symptoms:

  • Loss of sensation in your feet
  • Blisters, ulcers, infected corns, or ingrown toenails
  • Thickened, yellow toenails
  • Changes in the color or temperature of your foot
  • Changes to the shape of your foot
  • Tingling, burning, or pain in your foot
  • Athlete’s foot or another fungal infection

Dr. Kaplan can provide treatments that can clear up the problem and relieve any symptoms. 

To get the best in podiatric care, schedule an appointment with FootCare Specialists, Inc. by calling 650-264-9264 or using our online request form today.