Knowing your level of risk to have foot problems helps you know how to keep your feet healthy. Your healthcare provider will check your feet (do a foot screen or foot exam) to find out your level of risk.
You should have a foot exam at least once a year if you have no concerns and more often if you have concerns. It’s a good idea to make your own notes about your foot exam results every time you see your healthcare provider. To do this, you can print the document
Diabetes Foot Health Self-Screening Tool, fill it out, and keep it for your records.
There are many factors that go in to your level of risk to develop foot problems. Your level of risk guides the care you need to give your feet. Depending on your needs, you might also be referred to different healthcare providers. Examples are:
Each risk level is described below, along with tips to care for your feet based on your risk.
Your foot exam shows you have a low risk of having foot problems. You have a normal foot, with no open sores, normal feeling, and no changes to the shape of your foot. There are no concerns with your toenails or nail care. If your healthcare provider tells you you’re low risk, here’s what you should do to protect your feet:
Your foot exam shows you have a moderate risk of foot problems. You’re at moderate risk because you have 1 or more of these:
Your healthcare provider will talk with you about your extra care needs and any changes in your foot care that you need to do. You will likely be referred to other healthcare providers such as a:
If your healthcare provider tells you you’re at moderate risk, follow all the foot care advice for people at low risk and add the following:
Remember to take off your shoes and socks every time you visit your healthcare provider.
Your foot exam shows you’re at high risk for serious foot problems. You’re at high risk because you’re at moderate risk
plus you have lost feeling in your feet, have reduced blood flow in your feet, or have a sore (ulcer) on your foot.
People at high risk need to see a foot care specialist or a high risk foot team. Your healthcare provider will refer you to one of these services.
When your healthcare provider refers you to a foot care specialist or a high risk foot team, you can expect a call to book an appointment in 1 to 2 weeks. If no one has called you after 2 weeks,
call your healthcare provider to tell them you’re still waiting for an appointment.
If your healthcare provider tells you you’re at high risk, follow all the foot care advice for people at low and moderate risk and add the following:
Current as of: June 23, 2020
Author: Diabetes, Obesity, and Nutrition Strategic Clinical Network, Alberta Health Services
This material is not a substitute for the advice of a qualified health professional. This material is intended for general information only and is provided on an "as is", "where is" basis. Although reasonable efforts were made to confirm the accuracy of the information, Alberta Health Services does not make any representation or warranty, express, implied or statutory, as to the accuracy, reliability, completeness, applicability or fitness for a particular purpose of such information. Alberta Health Services expressly disclaims all liability for the use of these materials, and for any claims, actions, demands or suits arising from such use.