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Infrared foot temperature monitoring may help patients with diabetes prevent lower extremity ulcers, according to a new study. Researchers studied two groups of patients:


* 41 patients at high risk for lower extremity ulceration and amputation who received standard care (therapeutic footwear, diabetes foot education, and regular foot evaluation by a podiatrist)


* 44 patients at similar risk who received standard care and also monitored temperatures of the soles of their feet in the morning and evening.



An elevated foot temperature (greater than 4[degrees] F above that of the opposite foot) was considered a warning sign of ulceration due to inflammation. Researchers asked people who recorded elevated foot temperatures to reduce their activity and contact the study nurse.


During 6 months of follow-up, nine people in the standard therapy group had foot complications, compared with one person in the temperature monitoring group.


Researchers say their results may reflect greater vigilance among those who were taking their foot temperatures. They hope further study will better define their findings.




Home monitoring of foot skin temperatures to prevent ulceration, Diabetes Care, LA Lavery, et al., November 2004.