Training modules (NHS Scotland)

03: The purpose of foot screening (NHS Scotland)


Diabetic foot screening is the cornerstone of good diabetic foot care.

The purpose of diabetic foot screening is to carry out a quick, simple, and evidence based screening to determine at what risk an individual is of developing a diabetic foot ulcer, which may lead to an amputation. The individual should be made aware of their foot risk status and have an appropriate treatment/management plan agreed with the individual and implemented if/when required.

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The Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN 116) is produced in Scotland to guide clinicians on the most up to date, and evidence based practice. This guideline will mainly be of interest to all healthcare professionals/workers involved in the care of individuals with diabetes. The target users are, however, much broader than this, and include individuals living with diabetes, their carers and those who interact with individuals with diabetes outside of the NHS. It will also be of interest to those planning the delivery of services in NHS Scotland and beyond.

The guideline states that:

‘Diabetic foot screening is effective in identifying the level of risk of developing foot ulceration in patients with diabetes’.

It also focuses on keeping the screening process simple and ensuring that all the main risk factors are screened for:

‘Simple tests such as the use of 10g monofilament, palpation of pulses, neuropathy disability score, presence of significant structural abnormality and previous ulceration, when routinely used during screening are effective at predicting ulceration’.