Exams and Tests for Diabetic Foot

If you are suffering from diabetic foot, your doctor may take a thorough history, do a thorough physical examination, and ask for certain tests (includes lab tests, X-rays, and test to detect abnormalities in blood circulation of feet). It is important for you to be aware of the tests and examinations your doctor will do for you.

Thorough history and physical examination:

Your doctor will ask all details about the duration of your symptoms, how symptoms started and how severe are the problem and previous history. Your doctor will check vital signs (which include pulse rate, blood pressure, respiratory rate), examine if you can feel normally in your feet/leg. Your doctor will also try to find out the state of circulation in your leg. Examination also include thorough inspection of your lower limbs. If there is ulcer the condition of the ulcer will be examined and minor debridement (removal of dead tissue surgically) done if required.


X-ray will be ordered to find out the extent of damage of bones or if there is any arthritis or the damage due to infection. Presence of gas in soft tissue X-ray indicate serious gangrene and it may be life/limb threatening.


Doppler ultrasound can detect blood flow through blood vessels (arteries as well as veins) of lower limbs. This test can help in deciding the management.


If poor circulation is detected by Doppler ultrasound an angiogram may be done to determine the exact condition of blood vessels, before undertaking vascular surgery to correct circulation of lower limbs. Angiogram can detect the exact location of blockade and help the surgeon to perform surgery.

Laboratory tests for diabetic foot:

Your doctor may ask some routine tests (such as complete hemogram) and some specific laboratory tests such as blood sugar, kidney function tests, liver function tests, blood electrolytes etc. High white cell cont indicate infection. Surgery (if required) can not be performed unless high blood sugar is brought down to normal (by insulin or by oral hypoglycemic agents) and white cell cont is reduced.

You may also be examined by vascular surgeon, orthopedic surgeon and other specialties before a final decision is taken about your treatment of diabetic foot, depending on seriousness of your symptoms. Correct diagnosis at right time can reduce risk of diabetes complications.

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