U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Indian Health Service: The Federal Health Program for American Indians and Alaska Natives
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Friday, October 24, 2014

Division of Diabetes Treatment and Prevention - Leading the effort to treat and prevent diabetes in American Indians and Alaska Natives


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Monofilament Exam

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NOTE: Access to this information is not restricted; however, the information found here is intended for use by medical providers. Some videos contain graphic images. Patients should talk with their medical providers about any specific concerns.

Equipment:

  • 10 g monofilament
  • Good lighting
  • Comfortable place for the patient to put their feet up
  • Foot cleaning station or clean drape and non-sterile gloves

Procedure:

  • Remove patient’s shoes and socks, place feet on towel or drape.
  • Provider may wear gloves.
  • Have the patient expose the soles of their feet under good lighting.
  • Using your hand, demonstrate that the monofilament is flexible, not sharp.
  • Demonstrate the monofilament on patient’s hand so they have a point of reference.
  • Instruct the patient to close their eyes and respond with “yes” when they feel the monofilament on their feet.
  • For each foot, test the great toe and the first, third and fifth metatarsals.
  • Starting with the great toe, place the monofilament perpendicular to the skin.  Press until the monofilament bends, hold for one second, and then release.
  • An abnormal test result occurs when the patient cannot feel the monofilament in any one of the areas.
Overview How To Other Resources

Division of Diabetes Treatment and Prevention | Phone: (505) 248-4182 | Fax: (505) 248-4188 | diabetesprogram@ihs.gov