Hot Foot Is the Risk Indicator

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At-home self-monitoring by patientsof daily foot temperatures may be aneffective adjunctive tool to prevent footcomplications in individuals at high riskfor lower-extremity ulceration.

That is the finding of researchers atthe Texas A&M Health Science Centerin Temple, Texas. The researchersrandomized 85 patients withneuropathy, foot deformity or previoushistory of ulceration or partial footamputation into a standard therapygroup or an enhanced therapy group fora six-month study.

The standard therapy group receivedtherapeutic footwear, diabetic foot-careeducation and regular foot evaluationsby a podiatrist. The enhanced therapygroup received in addition a handheldinfrared skin thermometer to measurethe temperature of the sole of the foot inthe morning and evening.

Elevated temperatures (greater than 4degrees Fahrenheit compared with theother foot) were considered a sign forrisk of ulceration due to inflammationat the site of measurement. When foottemperatures were elevated, patientswere instructed to reduce their activitylevel and to contact the study nurse.

Only 2 percent of the enhanced therapygroup had foot complications comparedto 20 percent in the standard therapygroup.

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