Check your feet, hosiery and shoes daily. If there are signs of redness in any part of the foot or leg, or if the foot feels warmer than usual, this might indicate infection of inflammation, which needs prompt professional attention. Awareness of pain and injury may be diminished, so inspect the inside of your shoes daily for objects like nails or torn linings, which might cut the skin.
You should urgently consult your podiatrist or seek medical attention, if you see any of the following in your feet:
- A breaks in the skin or a discharge
- The skin changes colour, becoming redder, bluer, paler, blacker over part or all of foot
- New swelling in your feet
You should also seek an urgent appointment, if you normally have little or no feeling in your feet, but suddenly experience an unexplained pain or discomfort, especially if the surrounding skin is a little warmer to touch, when compared to the same spot on the other foot.
If you see a red or black spot within callus or at a site of a corn, you should see a podiatrist as soon as possible for this to be looked at, regardless of whether it is painful or painless. This is often a sign of excessive pressure that has resulted in localised bleeding under the skin. If left such an area is likely to develop into an ulcer, that may require prolonged treatment. Until you see your podiatrist you should keep off your feet as much as possible.
If your eyesight is impaired, or you have difficulty bending down to check, use a mirror or ask a friend to look for you.
Assessment of diabetic feet
If you have diabetes, then it is important to have your feet regularly checked over by a footcare professional. At Walkwel Clinic, you can rest assured that you are in experienced and capable hands.
If you would like to book an appointment with one of our friendly, knowledgeable podiatrists, please contact either of our clinics in Letchworth or Stevenage.
What does the podiatrist look for?
If you are presently at low risk of an ulcer you can expect your Practice Nurse or GP to check your feet once a year. However if you are at increased risk of an ulcer, these inspections may be more frequent and by a Podiatrist. The Podiatrist will normally check both the blood supply to your feet and look for evidence of loss of sensation in your feet.
Blood supply will be checked by looking at the colour of the skin, checking the pulses in the feet and by asking questions about certain kinds of pains in your feet and legs. Normally people have two pulses in their feet, one of the top (dorsalis pedis) and one on the inside of the ankle (posterior tibial), most often the podiatrist will check these pulses by feeling the pulse with their fingers. Sometimes they will use a small hand held scanner (called a doplar) to listen to the pulse.
Sensation will most commonly be checked with a monofilament and tuning fork. The monofilament is a plastic probe that is designed to buckle at a given pressure, and is a good indicator for loss of feeling. The podiatrist will also be looking for any foot deformity or signs of excessive loading that may warrant either footwear advice or in some cases an insole.