Published 30th May 2019
If you have diabetes and lose some feeling in your feet, you may not feel that you’ve been hurt. That could mean it’s not treated quickly enough which could lead to serious infections or ulcers. It’s quick and easy to do. But you need someone there to help who’ll touch your toes and write down the results. Tell them it’ll only take a couple of minutes.
How to test your feet for sensitivity
It consists of the helper touching six toes – three on each foot. They then write down how many of the touches you feel.
The touch must be as light as a feather, and for no more than a seconds. They also shouldn’t touch each toe more than once.
- Take off your socks and shoes and get comfy by lying down on a sofa or bed.
- The helper will then remind you which is your right and which is your left leg. They’ll do this by firmly touching each leg and saying, “This is your right” and “This is your left”.
- Close your eyes and keep them closed until the end of the test. All you have to do is say “right” or “left” as soon as you feel a touch on your right or left toes.
- The helper will now lightly touch your toes using their index (pointing) finger. They’ll do this for these 6 toes in the shown in the diagram below
- Your helper will write down whether you’ve felt a touch or not.
Right big toe
Right little toe
Left big toe
Left little toe
Right middle toe
Left middle toe
If you felt the touch on five or six of the toes, then your sensation is fine. You’re not at an increased risk of developing a foot problem due to a lack of sensation. However, you must carry on having your annual foot checks at your GP practice. Sensation can go at any time and you might not notice. If you didn’t feel when two or more of your six toes were touched, then you’re very likely to have reduced sensation. And you might be at risk of a foot ulcer. It’s best to get it confirmed by a healthcare professional. So get an appointment at your GP surgery for a full examination of your feet.