Have you ever used or have been treated with monofilaments? From the name alone, there is not much you can surmise as to what monofilament does. Mono means one and filament is a slender threadlike object. Put it together and it says one slender threadlike object. In the medical field, this slender threadlike object is crucial in evaluating sensory and motor responses to see if the nervous system is impaired.
Healthcare professionals use monofilaments to measure and identify any early loss of protective sensation. To doctors, monofilaments are crucial in reducing diabetic foot ulceration and subsequent limb loss. To test foot ulceration, measurements are taken at the bottom of a patient’s foot as that is where the diabetic foot ulceration can be easily identified. If the ulceration is caught early enough amputation can be prevented.
If you have ever seen a monofilament, you probably have noticed that each one is numbered. The number found on the monofilament is the level of force that is applied during testing. The lower levels have a thinner nylon filament compared to the higher levels. Tests are made by bending the filament to the point of flexion on five sites per foot with a total of 10 sites. The level monofilament felt will determine the sensation threshold you have. If the monofilament level is high and you are not feeling the filament push into you, there may be some cause for concern.
Monofilament testing has been widely adopted by the International Diabetes Federation, World Health Organization and the American Diabetes Association. Testing with monofilaments does not need to be done with a medical professional. Patients can test themselves at home with high accuracy.
Do note that monofilaments are affected by high temperatures and extreme humidity, so they are best used in a warm, dry room. Before self-testing with monofilaments be sure to check with your doctor first.
For more information on monofilaments, click here.
Article written by William Graves.