Wound Care Articles and Insights
August 7, 2023

Woundless Summer Nights: Feet Check Self-Exam

Kallie Christensen

Come August with the sweltering temperature, it’s either in-door, in-water, or in-the-dark activities only to beat that late summer heat. However, whether you are scampering across the “cool” deck to the pool, or finally kicking back on the patio after the sun goes down, the heat is still there. And so is the risk of developing a wound. Especially for the 37.3 million Americans living with diabetes. Good thing Woundless Summer goes all summer long, because we’ve got all of the party favors to keep patients woundless during those hot Summer Nights, and what to look out for as summer comes to an end.

August can be brutally hot, and even when the sun goes down things like sand, pavement, concrete, and even that fancy cool-deck can still be holding the day’s trapped heat. So, before kicking off your party shoes after sunset, consider how hot it was that day. Anything that is above 111 degree fahrenheit can start to damage the skin when touched, and at 118 degrees (just TWO degrees below the temp of a rare steak) the skin will experience a first degree burn. And the only thing that should be burning hot on a Woundless Summer night is the grill. 

The heat is why the beach, poolside, or the patio, are the best places to celebrate during a warm summer night. All with the goal of waking up without a new wound the next morning… And a headache. However, those with diabetes, especially those who are experiencing neuropathy, should always perform regular foot checks after a long summer night out, or can we be honest here and just say the entire summer? Between the heat, wearing sandals, and probably not drinking enough water between adult beverages, the feet are the best way to tell if it was truly a Woundless Summer. 

Before whipping out the magnifying glass or hand-held mirror, here is what to look for on the foot:

  1. Cuts, blisters, and bruises.
  2. Cracks, hardened skin (calluses), or severe dryness on the heel. 
  3. Red areas that are hot to the touch and any swelling.

Any one of these can lead to a Diabetic Foot Ulcer and should be monitored closely. If healing does not begin within the first two days, especially if the skin has broken, a doctor should be contacted immediately for further investigation. To prevent further skin damage, be sure to moisture the feet daily, especially if those dancing shoes did come off, or if time was spent barefoot in and out of a pool. 

When it comes to the process of looking at the foot for any sign of a new wound developing, remember SUMMER: 

S. Sides - Look on both sides of the foot and run your fingers across to feel for any obstruction. 

U. Under - To look under the foot, use a hand-held mirror to make it easier. 

M. Moisture - Feel and look for anywhere the skin is lacking moisture. 

M. Maceration - Feel and look for any skin damage from prolonged exposure to water or wearing wet shoes for too long.

E. Each Toe - Inspect each toe and between toes for any friction spots or blisters. 

R. Rub - Rub the foot to feel for any changes in shape, as well as any lumps or bumps under the skin. This will also help with circulation 

With SUMMER and CCR (not the band, but cuts, cracks, and redness), Woundless Summer can continue to live on, even long after the days become short and the leaves begin to change. Light the tiki torches and cheers to the beach, summer camp, and the remaining warm nights ahead of us. 

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