Diabetes Health: Monofilament Test for Neuropathy

December 13, 2017

If you have diabetes, you are at risk of developing nerve damage. One type of nerve damage you are at risk for is called diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN). DPN is a condition that impacts your toes, feet, fingers, and hands. You may feel tingling, burning, pain, or lose all sensation in those parts of the body. When you have nerve damage in these parts of the body, you may be unable to feel an injury. This is a problem because a small nick or cut can easily become infected if it goes unnoticed. Infection can then lead to worse problems like foot ulcers and amputations.

The important thing when it comes to DPN is knowing you have it, preventing it from spreading and taking steps to protect yourself. One of the ways that DPN is diagnosed is with a monofilament test.

What is a monofilament test?

A monofilament test, formally called a Semmes-Weinstein monofilament ( SWM) test, is done by a doctor, nurse or CDE to test for nerve damage. It is a small strand of nylon attached to a plastic base. Your doctor will have you sit or lay down and most likely have you close your eyes. Then, your doctor will place the monofilament on specific areas of your foot and apply pressure.

If you cannot feel this action performed by your doctor it is an indication of nerve damage in that part of your foot. It is one of many tests used by health professionals to diagnoses DPN.

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What do I do if I'm diagnosed with Neuropathy?

Your doctor will work with you to develop a treatment plan to help you work to prevent complications and nerve damage from spreading. Some of the things you can do to prevent injury and protect your feet include:

  • Daily Foot Exams
  • Wearing socks every day
  • Never walking barefoot
  • Wear proper fitting shoes
  • See a podiatrist (foot doctor) once a year or more depending on your risk factors
  • Clean your feet daily
  • Change your socks daily

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3 years ago

Can nerve damage be reversed? I have non-diabetic PN and have been told by my doctors to “just live with it,” but it is completely debilitating. 🙁


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