Why Endocrinologists Ask To See Our Feet…


It’s almost insulting, right? There you are, an adult, being asked to take your shoes off for a foot exam. This was always puzzling as a kid, leaving me thinking, “Yo Doc, if I had a foot ulcer or something, don’t you think I’d know?” But nevertheless, I always take my shoes off–hoping I have on matching socks and my feet are tolerable in scent–and let the endo do his or her cursory 3 second glance, eventually sliding my socks back on to a good report.

So, turns out diabetes foot ulcers are pretty common (5% of all people with diabetes develop a foot ulcer each year). No, this is not turning into a complications talk. What I do hope to accomplish though, is the why behind the office visit foot check, saving a few endos attitude from us.

Okay, here’s the why behind the foot checks:
People who get a diabetic foot ulcer, don’t even know they have an ulcer… unless they see it. 

With 50% of people with diabetes having neuropathy too (okay, I’m sorry for another mention of the complication stuff), that means 50% of people with diabetes have decreased sensations. Those 50% may not feel the sharp object (rock, thorn, or nail) in their shoe. How said object found its way into the shoe remains a mystery unsolvable in the endo’s office.

So, next time, before answering with the usual, “Doc, if I had a foot ulcer or something, don’t you think I’d know?”, give them a break and assume that they’re just playing the numbers (50% with neuropathy) and don’t take it personal. ‘Cause if I did have a wound down there, perhaps I would like to know.

If this was all information that you already know and would like something more entertaining to ready, here you go.


Former co-founder of DiabetesDailyGrind, Ryan's mission is to motivate others with diabetes to live their own authentic life. Most days, when not in the hospital during his medical residency, you can find him on the bike, surfboard, or yoga mat. He believes in the power of clean eating, and loves his Dexcom.

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