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The Importance of Routine Diabetic Foot Exams

The Importance of Routine Diabetic Foot Exams

Diabetes is a chronic condition that happens when your body doesn’t regulate your blood sugar properly. The condition leads to high glucose levels in your blood, which has detrimental effects on your health.

Your feet can end up taking the brunt of uncontrolled high blood sugar. Routine foot exams help you stay on top of your foot health and prevent issues like diabetic foot ulcers.

At Tussey Mountain Foot & Ankle Specialists, your foot health is our main priority. Leading our team are Dr. Andrew Bernhard and Dr. Kaitlyn Bernhard, both of whom are foot and ankle specialists who offer diabetic foot exams to their patients.

Diabetes and your feet

When you have diabetes, your body can’t correctly control the sugar in your blood. Your pancreas makes insulin sent out in response to rising blood sugar.

However, diabetes affects how your body uses insulin or prevents your pancreas from making it. The result is higher than average amounts of sugar in your blood, which harms your health and your feet.

High blood sugar leads to various issues, including circulation problems and nerve damage. These two issues are the biggest culprits of diabetic foot problems like numbness and ulcers.

Without proper blood sugar control and routine diabetic foot exams, you’re at risk for serious health issues, including diabetic neuropathy and severe infections.

What’s involved in a diabetic foot exam?

A diabetic foot exam is a routine physical for your feet that we perform for patients with diabetes. It’s a crucial aspect of your health, as diabetes affects your feet and legs, especially as the disease progresses.

You don’t need to do anything to prepare for a diabetic foot exam except show up for your appointment. During the appointment, we assess several aspects of your foot health, including:

General appearance

We take a general look at the health of your feet through a visual assessment. During this step, we ask about any issues you’ve been experiencing in your feet or legs related to diabetes. We also assess your shoes for fit and comfort, which are crucial when you have diabetes.


The neurological part of the exam is to check your nerve sensitivity. Several tests, including the monofilament and pinprick tests, evaluate how well you can feel certain sensations.

We also evaluate your ankle reflexes during a diabetic foot exam to test for weakness or other issues related to diabetes.


Circulation problems are common in people living with diabetes. During your foot exam, we sometimes use a Doppler ultrasound machine to check how well the blood circulates to your feet and legs.


During the skin assessment, we check your feet for signs of infection, fungus, or general dryness. We also look for calluses, ulcers, or blisters on your feet or between your toes.

We also assess your toenails for cracking or signs of a fungal infection. During the foot exam, we also evaluate the size and shape of your foot for any abnormalities that may put you at risk for complications.

The importance of regular foot exams

Regular foot exams are vital to your health when you have diabetes. The longer you have the disease, the more likely you are to have complications in your feet related to circulation problems or neuropathy.

Taking care of your feet and regularly assessing the skin on each foot and between your toes is the best way to avoid diabetic complications. However, you should also see our team regularly to check your circulation and nerve function, impacting your foot health.

You're at risk for severe problems with your feet and legs without regular screenings. Poor circulation makes it hard for your body to fight infections, even with minor abrasions or cuts.

It also takes much longer for your body to heal an injury to your foot when you have diabetes. The longer it takes to heal, the more prone you are to infection or ulcers, which can be severe and even life-threatening.

Neuropathy makes it challenging to feel sensations, such as a rock in your shoe or a small cut from walking barefoot. If you're not regularly checking your feet, you're also at risk for slow-healing wounds and infections.

Regular foot exams are also important because they allow our team to provide tips and pointers to keep your feet healthy. We can monitor the progression of the disease related to your feet and provide you with treatments and tips to avoid serious complications.

To schedule your diabetic foot exam, call our office in State College, Pennsylvania, today at 814-831-7565, or request a consultation on our website.

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