Clinician Article

Home monitoring of foot skin temperatures to prevent ulceration.

  • Lavery LA
  • Higgins KR
  • Lanctot DR
  • Constantinides GP
  • Zamorano RG
  • Armstrong DG, et al.
Diabetes Care. 2004 Nov;27(11):2642-7. doi: 10.2337/diacare.27.11.2642. (Original)
PMID: 15504999
Read abstract Read full text
  • Endocrine
    Relevance - 6/7
    Newsworthiness - 6/7
  • Internal Medicine
    Relevance - 5/7
    Newsworthiness - 6/7


OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the effectiveness of at-home infrared temperature monitoring as a preventative tool in individuals at high risk for diabetes-related lower-extremity ulceration and amputation.

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: Eighty-five patients who fit diabetic foot risk category 2 or 3 (neuropathy and foot deformity or previous history of ulceration or partial foot amputation) were randomized into a standard therapy group (n = 41) or an enhanced therapy group (n = 44). Standard therapy consisted of therapeutic footwear, diabetic foot education, and regular foot evaluation by a podiatrist. Enhanced therapy included the addition of a handheld infrared skin thermometer to measure temperatures on the sole of the foot in the morning and evening. Elevated temperatures (>4 degrees F compared with the opposite foot) were considered to be "at risk" of ulceration due to inflammation at the site of measurement. When foot temperatures were elevated, subjects were instructed to reduce their activity and contact the study nurse. Study subjects were followed for 6 months.

RESULTS: The enhanced therapy group had significantly fewer diabetic foot complications (enhanced therapy group 2% vs. standard therapy group 20%, P = 0.01, odds ratio 10.3, 95% CI 1.2-85.3). There were seven ulcers and two Charcot fractures among standard therapy patients and one ulcer in the enhanced therapy group.

CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that at-home patient self-monitoring with daily foot temperatures may be an effective adjunctive tool to prevent foot complications in individuals at high risk for lower-extremity ulceration and amputation.

Clinical Comments

Internal Medicine

Very interesting and promising. If reproduced in other trials and the measure device easily available, it could be applied in usual practice.

Internal Medicine

Promising tool - would be nice to see an integrated management plan including both this and self-testing for loss of protective sensation (monofilament testing) for preventing severe diabetic foot complications. Looking forward to more work in this area.

Register for free access to all Professional content

Want the latest in aging research? Sign up for our email alerts.

Support for the Portal is largely provided by the Labarge Optimal Aging Initiative. AGE-WELL is a contributing partner. Help us to continue to provide direct and easy access to evidence-based information on health and social conditions to help you stay healthy, active and engaged as you grow older. Donate Today.

© 2012 - 2020 McMaster University | 1280 Main Street West | Hamilton, Ontario L8S4L8 | +1 905-525-9140 | Terms Of Use