Peripheral sensory neuropathy in one’s feet leads to loss of the protective sensibility and an increased risk of diabetic ulcers. Thus, regular examinations are crucially important. This means annual checkups conducted by a doctor or diabetes nurse. For the examination, it’s recommended to check the ability to sense vibrations, pressure, pain and pulse.
Should diabetic ulcers arise, it is important for the wound(s) to be assessed at a diabetes clinic as soon as possible. Depending on the wound type, a number of resources are applied, so-called multidisciplinary teams, to mitigate and suppress the wound development.
A multidisciplinary team consists of various professional groups, involved with (amongst other things) the improvement of the foot health status. If the circulation is impaired, vascular surgery may be necessary. If the wound is infected, antibiotics are prescribed. The foot may need to be relieved in order to allow for a proper healing process, which is facilitated by the use of custom shoes and various soles.
As the diabetic ulcer may take a very long time to heal, it is definitely preferable for it to never form in the first place. Using improved sensory diagnostics, is is possible to detect patients carrying a higher risk of developing permanent damages may be found. By screening patients with sensory impairment in their feet at an early stage, risk categories can be found before the patients develop diabetic ulcers.
A major problem is caused by the fact that today’s methods for sensory measurement are crude, subjective and time consuming. Different doctors or nurses often will get different results for the same patient. Also, to effectively examine a population currently amounting to some 387 million people globally with current methods would take up enormous amounts of resources.