Posts Tagged ‘Diabetic Awareness’

Diabetic Wound Care: Monofilament Testing

Friday, March 11th, 2016

Detecting neuropathy in the diabetic foot is crucial for patient care, which is why this 10-step test is a must when it comes to injury and ulceration prevention.

Monofilament Testing

 

Healing patients and helping them get on the road to recovery are always at the top of any wound clinician’s list. We are always on alert and in constant assessment mode, looking for ways to prevent further complications or possible injury. So when a patient also happens to be diabetic, our assessment mode goes into overdrive.

One of the most common complications of diabetes is neuropathy, or nerve damage of the extremities. With sensory neuropathy, the patient loses protective sensation and the ability to feel pain and temperature changes. Without protective sensation, the diabetic patient is at an increased risk for foot injury or ulceration, and may not realize anything is amiss until there are serious complications.

Semmes Weinstein 10g Monofilament Test

This is why testing your diabetic patients for neuropathy is so important. In fact, the American Diabetes Association recommends that we screen diabetic patients for neuropathy annually, at minimum. Once we note any diminished sensation, we should check quarterly.

One way to assess protective sensation in the diabetic foot is to perform a Semmes Weinstein 10g Monofilament Test across designated sites on the foot.  The test uses a 5.07 monofilament that exerts 10 grams of force when bowed into a C-shape against the skin for one second.

 

Monofilament Diagrams

 

The test procedure is as follows:

  1. Use the 10gm monofilament to test sensation.
  2. Have patient close his or her eyes.
  3. Apply the filament perpendicular to the skin’s surface.
  4. Be aware that the approach, skin contact and departure of the monofilament should be approximately 1.5 seconds in duration.
  5. Apply sufficient force to allow the filament to bend. (Figure 1).
  6. Do not apply to an ulcer site or on a callous, scar, or necrotic tissue.
  7. Do not allow the filament to slide across the skin or make repetitive contact at the test site. Randomly change the order and timing of successive tests.
  8. Ask the patient to respond, “Yes,” when the filament is felt.
  9. Document response when felt, and test for sensation (Figure 2).
  10. Be aware that neuropathy usually starts in the first and third toes, and progresses to the first and third metatarsal heads. It is likely that these areas will be the first to have negative results with the 10gm monofilament. Repeated testing can demonstrate vividly to the patient the progression of the disease.

Record the results on the screening form, noting a “+” for sensation felt, and a “-” for no sensation felt. The patient is said to have an insensate foot if they fail on retesting at just one or more sites on either foot. Injury is much more likely to occur in these insensate areas and we must take protective measures. Provide patient education verbally and in writing, such as these materials from the American Diabetes Association, and be sure to do a good shoe fit assessment as part of your care plan.

Do you administer this test?

Are you familiar with the Semmes Weinstein 10g Monofilament Test, and do you administer it on a regular basis to your diabetic patients? Have you noticed significant results in terms of prevention and assessment? We are interested to know about your experiences in diabetic foot testing, so please leave your comments below.

 

Free Download - Neuropathic Foot Exam Guide

Click to download this easy-to-use resource for performing foot examinations.

Really, How Important is that Monofilament Test?

Monday, January 26th, 2015

Neuropathy is one of the most common risk factors for lower extremity complications in our diabetic patients. With sensory neuropathy the patient has a loss of protective sensation that leads to a decrease in the ability for our diabetic patient to sense pain and temperature changes. This loss of protective sensation puts the patient at an increased risk for plantar foot injury. Unfortunately the patient may not feel the injury until significant complications have occurred.

The American Diabetes Association set up guidelines for us as healthcare professionals, these guidelines recommend screening in diabetic patients for neuropathy to check for loss of protective sensation on an annual basis, one way this can be done by doing the Semmes Weinstein Monofilament test. If the patient is found to have decreased sensation and is found to be at high risk the monofilament test should then be done quarterly.

The Semmes Weinstein 10g Monofilament is a test that checks for protective sensation in the diabetic foot.  It uses a 5.07 monofilament that exerts 10 grams of force when bowed into a C-shape against the skin for one second.  We don’t apply the filament directly to the ulcer site, callous, scar or necrotic tissue. Ask the patient to close their eyes during the exam and tell them to reply “yes” when the monofilament is felt, repeat without touching skin occasionally to be sure of patients response. Be sure to use random order on successive tests.

Areas to be tested include the dorsal midfoot, plantar aspect of the foot including pulp (fleshy mass on the distal plantar aspect) of the first, third, and fifth digits, the first, third and fifth metatarsal heads, the medial and lateral midfoot and at the calcaneus.  Record the results on the screening form, noting a “+” for sensation felt and a “-” for no sensation felt. The patient is said to have an “insensate foot” if they fail on retesting at just one or more sites on either foot.

Those patients who cannot feel the application of the monofilament to designated sites on the plantar surface of their feet have lost their “protective sensation”. Without this protective sensation the diabetic is now at increased for injury or ulceration. Neuropathy is usually noted in the first and third toes and then progresses to the first and third metatarsal heads.

Injury is much more likely to occur in the diabetic insensate foot at these areas and interventions must be implemented to protect the diabetic foot that is at risk for ulceration. Patient education and good “shoe fit assessment” will be part of our plan of care to protect the diabetic neuropathic patients foot.

 

Diabetic Patient Education

Monday, December 29th, 2014

Patient education plays a vital role in positive outcomes for our diabetic patient. Diabetic patients need to understand the importance of proper foot care and importance of good blood glucose control to maintain the integrity of their feet.

So what do our patients need to know? They need to work closely with their physician and the dietician to be sure their blood glucose levels are properly controlled. foot_mirror_between_toesThe ADA recommends an A1c below 7%.  They need to know how important it is to check their feet daily to catch any problems early. We as clinicians need to teach them how to do this and what to look for. Teach your diabetic patients to inspect their feet everyday. They can do this by having family members or caregivers check their feet, or they can use a mirror and do it themselves.

Explain to your patients what exactly they are looking for; cuts, sores, red spots, swelling, infected toenails, blisters, calluses, cracks, excessive dryness or any other abnormality. They should check all surfaces of the feet and toes carefully, at the same time each and every day. Explain to your patients to call their physician right away if they notice any abnormalities or any open areas. Other problems the diabetic patient should be aware of with their feet and report to their physician include tingling or burning sensation, pain in the feet, cracks in the skin, a change in the shape of their foot, or lack of sensation – they might not feel warm, cold, or touch. The patient should be aware that any of the above could potentially lead to diabetic foot ulcers.

Instruct your patients to wash their feet every day, but not soak their feet. Use warm, NOT hot water – be sure they check the water temperature with a thermometer or shoe_fittheir elbow. Dry feet well, especially between toes. Apply lotion on the tops and bottoms of their feet but not between toes. Trim toenails each week and as needed after bath / shower, trim nails straight across with clippers, smooth edges with emery board.

Wear socks and shoes at all times, the diabetic patient should never be barefoot, even indoors. Have them check their shoes prior to wearing, be sure there are no objects inside and the lining is smooth.  Instruct them to wear shoes that protect their feet; athletic shoes or walking shoes that are leather are best, be sure they fit their feet appropriately and accommodate the foot width and any foot deformities.

For our diabetic patients, glucose control is a key factor in keeping them healthy, but patient education and understanding of proper foot inspection and what findings to report to their physician are just as important for the well being of our diabetic patient.

Free Webinar “How-To: Diabetic Foot Exam Made Easy”. Use Promo Code: DFOOT  through 12/31/15.

Diabetic Ulcers – Identification and Treatment

Monday, October 27th, 2014
Gail Hebert RN, BS, MS, CWCN, WCC, DWC, OMS, LNHA, Clinical Instructor

Gail Hebert RN, BS, MS, CWCN, WCC, DWC, OMS, LNHA, Clinical Instructor

Don’t miss this energetic webinar brought to you by Wound Care Education Institute®:  Another popular session recorded from the Wild On Wounds National Conference and providing continuing education credit.

Chronic foot ulcers in patients with diabetes cause substantial morbidity and may lead to amputation of a lower extremity and mortality. Accurate identification of underlying causes and co-morbidities are essential for planning treatment and approaches for optimal healing. In this one-hour recorded session, Gail Hebert will review evidence-based approaches for identification and treatment of chronic neuropathic, neuro-ischemic and ischemic diabetic foot ulcerations.

Wound Care Education Institute is featuring various webinars on topics from this years’ conference.  TO REGISTER CLICK HERE or visit www.wcei.net/webinars.

 

Diabetic Awareness: 2 Feet or No Feet (Parts 1 & 2)

Friday, August 12th, 2011
Diabetic Foot Awareness

Diabetic Awareness: 2 Feet or No Feet (Parts 1 & 2) will be presented by April Holtry RN, BSN, WCC at this year’s Wild on Wounds National Conference in Las Vegas this September 7-10,2011.

We need healthy feet to run, walk and support our body weight. This session will discuss the problems we face with our diabetics and the reasons why their feet are not healthy. What are the risks and the complications that our diabetic patients encounter? We’ll discuss infections, ulcers, poor circulation, amputation, improper footwear and underlying mechanical problems. We’ll touch on charcot and the cause of this problem. Finally, we’ll discuss the little bit of “Doctor” that exists in many of our patients when they decide to perform that “bathroom surgery” and the complications this can lead to.

For more information about the Wound Care Education Institute, please visit http://www.wcei.net.

Click Here To Register for the Wild on Wounds National Conference