It is known that more than 15% of people with diabetes have diabetic foot and men are more prone to it than women. Diabetic foot is a cluster of conditions like diabetic neuropathy, lack of blood supply to the tissues of the feet, reduced immunity levels, and changes in the skin due to diabetes.
Diabetes and feet – Diagnosis of diabetic foot
Diabetic foot ulcers and subsequent diabetic foot infections need aggressive management. This is because diabetic foot is a condition that can easily deteriorate and lead to foot amputation. Infections in the case of diabetic foot generally arise due to bacteria or fungus. Bacterial infections of streptococcus, staphylococcus, E.coli, and S. aureus and pseudomonas are common in people who do not take proper foot care in diabetes.
Since diabetic foot is responsible for more millions of foot amputations every year, it is important to manage both diabetic foot ulcers and diabetic foot infections aggressively. For this, early diagnosis and treatment is very important.
With the appearance of symptoms, it is advised that one consult a diabetes doctor or a podiatrist for further evaluation. Doctors generally conduct a complete physical examination along with examination of the feet. Apart from this, tests of blood glucose like random blood glucose test, fasting blood glucose test, postprandial blood glucose test, and HbA1c are conducted.
Physical examination of feet
While examining the feet of a person with diabetic foot, the following signs are looked out for:
- Dryness of skin
- Lesions of the nail
- Loss of hair on the foot’s skin
- Thickening of the skin
- Formation of fissures in the heels and other parts of the feet
- Foot deformities
- Abnormally prominent veins
- Presence of diabetic foot ulcers
Other diagnostic tests conducted for diagnosis of diabetic foot include:
- Ankle-brachial index test
- X-ray of feet
- MRI scan
- Blood tests like culture test, gram stain test, and other microbiological examinations
- Nylon monofilament examination