Feeling for pulses in the feet is an important part of learning about how healthy the feet are, as it indicates how blood is flowing to the toes. There are two pulses in each foot. It is good for a person with diabetes to know where their foot pulses are located, and they should be encouraged to feel their own pulses. Feeling for pulses is part of the Diabetic foot Assessment of Risk Test [DART], which should be done at least once per year. Ask the Health Team to show you how to feel for your foot pulses.
By keeping active, you help to improve your blood flow to the feet.
Smoking cigarettes shrinks and reduces the blood flow to your feet. Smoking makes it hard for your feet to be healthy. Good blood flow is necessary for good healing.
A pulse is felt by placing the finger-tips near an artery in the body. Most people know of the pulse site near their wrist or elbow. The foot pulse sites are pictured on the DART chart and occur behind the inside ankle bone and on the top of the foot.
If a strong pulse is felt – it indicates a good blood flow. The skin will be more likely to look healthy, have a good colour, temperature and texture.
If a weak pulse is felt [or the pulse cannot be found] – it may indicate poor blood flow. The skin will more likely look unhealthy, have a poor colour, be cold and clammy, dry and patchy. Sores are more likely to be painful and slow to heal.