July 2014

Many who consider their feet normal have abnormalities, loss of sensation

In the moment: Diabetes

By P.K. Daniel

Self-reported information about foot health from patients with type 2 diabetes, particularly those with peripheral neuropathy, is not reliable, according to research from the University of Western Australia in Perth.

In a community-based cohort of 358 patients with type 2 diabetes, nearly 60% of those surveyed for the Fremantle Diabetes Study Phase II said they considered their feet to be normal. And yet, 86.9% of those patients had deformity, dry skin, callus, and/or fissures that could manifest into more serious foot pathology. In addition, 67.9% had peripheral neuropathy as assessed using the Michigan Neuropathy Screening Instrument clinical portion.

The 40.5% of patients who considered their feet to be abnormal were older, had longer diabetes duration, and were more likely to have sensory neuropathic symptoms than patients who described their foot health as normal.

The findings were epublished in June by Diabetic Medicine.

Researchers from the university’s School of Medicine and Pharmacology wrote that patient self-assessments of foot health should be made in conjunction with foot examinations done by clinicians. Also, intensive education may be required.


Baba M, Foley L, Davis W, Davis TME. Self-awareness of foot health status in patients with Type 2 diabetes: the Fremantle Diabetes Study Phase II. Diabet Med 2014 June 12. [Epub ahead of print]

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