Do you know if your feet are healthy? If not, here’s a simple self exam that can give you a general idea of the health of your feet!
Balance. How balanced are you? A good test for balance involves standing on one foot, with your arms out to the side and your eyes closed. If you are less than 30 years old, you should be able to balance for 15 seconds, 30-40 years old for 12 seconds, 40-50 years old for 10 seconds and over 50 years old for seven seconds.
Circulation. Take a careful look at the color of your toes. Are they red, pink, purple or even bluish? Press down on the nail of your big toe until the color blanches. Now let go and allow the blood flow to return to your toe. Color should return within 2-5 seconds in a person with average circulation.
Flexibility. Do you have flexible toes? To find out try to pick up a marble or a small dish towel. Ankle flexibility can be tested by hanging your heel off of a stair. Now let the heel go below the level of the stair. If this causes pain, stop the test. If your heel can go below the level of the stair without too much strain in your calf, that is a good sign. Flexbility can be restored with exercises.
Pain. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Your feet should not hurt! There should be no pain in the average foot. If you have pain, this is an indication something is not right.
Sensation. Take a pencil eraser and lightly run it on the top, bottom and both sides of your feet. The sensation should feel equal in all areas. Feeling ticklish is o.k!
Skin. Check your skin carefully for calluses, blisters or areas of irritation. Stand next to your shoes. Are they shaped like your feet or are they causing areas of constriction that may result in calluses, blisters or irritation? Put your hand inside your shoe. Are there seams, tacks or rough places in the shoe that correspond to the areas of irritation, calluses or blisters on your feet?
If you discover anything unusual through this self-exam, i.e. pain, decreased sensation, abnormal skin growths, or balance problems, schedule an appointment with your podiatrist for a thorough and professional examination. Take care of your feet and they will take care of you!