Why is my diabetes foot check important?

A foot check will pick up any changes in your feet that may increase your risk of foot problems in the future.

You should have a foot check once a year, which involves checking the foot for feeling, blood flow and any changes to your foot shape or appearance.

Your foot check will show whether you have a low risk, moderate risk or high risk of diabetes related foot problem.  This will help your health professional provide you with the right level of footcare to help keep your feet healthy.

Checking the feeling in your foot

Diabetes can affect the feeling or sensation in your feet. This is called sensory neuropathy. Your foot sensation will be checked with a plastic filament.

You should tell the health professional doing your foot check if you have issues. For instance, any unpleasant burning, tingling, numbness or electric shock pains in your foot, or if you’ve had painless wounds or blisters.

Checking the blood flow to your foot

Diabetes can affect the blood flow to your feet (circulation). There are two ways to check for blood flow to the feet:

  1. Feeling for the two pulses in the feet.
  2. Listening to the sound of blood flow with a special piece of equipment known as a ‘hand-held Doppler’.

Checking the shape or appearance of your foot 

Your feet will also be checked for any changes in foot shape, skin appearance and nail appearance.

If you’ve noticed any changes in one or both of your feet, tell your health professional.

Foot shape

Your feet will be checked for:

  • curling of toes (clawed/hammer toes)
  • swelling and/or heat gain or loss of arch
  • changes at the ankle
  • prominent bunions

Skin appearance

The condition of your feet will be checked for:

  • blisters
  • breaks in skin
  • any increase or decrease in redness or swelling
  • peeling of skin
  • any changes in colour, like the foot looking pale or more red/blue/purple/white
  • calluses and/or corns

Nail appearance

Your nails will be checked to see if they are:

  • more thick
  • growing in multiple layers
  • torn or have come off (detached)
  • curved and pressing into the skin
  • piercing the skin and there is redness in the area

Report any changes to your foot

You should talk to a foot specialist about any changes or new problems you have.