Hot Feet? Hotfoot It To Your Doctor

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By: Linda von Wartburg

If one foot’s hot and the other’s not, you might bedeveloping a foot ulcer. Research published in the January 2007issue of Diabetes Care showed that an infraredtemperature-monitoring tool can reveal developing diabetic footulcers.

The study randomly assigned 173 people with a previous history ofdiabetic foot ulceration to 15 months in one of three groups:standard, structured examination, and enhanced. Everybody receivedtherapeutic footwear, diabetic foot education, and regular footcare. All subjects were told to contact a nurse immediately in theevent of any abnormality.

The structured group members performed daily foot examinations andrecorded their findings in a logbook. People in the enhanced therapygroup used an infrared skin thermometer to measure temperatures onsix foot sites every day. If temperatures between right and leftfoot sites differed by more than four degrees, patients wereinstructed to see the nurse and reduce activity until thetemperatures equalized.

The group with the infrared skin thermometer ended up with fewerfoot ulcers than either of the other two groups. Patients in thestandard and structured groups were 4.37 and 4.71 times more likelyto develop ulcers than patients in the enhanced therapy group. Theresearchers concluded that infrared temperature home monitoring mayserve as a useful early warning sign of foot ulcers.

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