At Connecticut Foot Care Centers, we find that many patients don’t think much about their feet until they’re not working properly. We want to encourage our patients to be proactive in the care of their feet and not wait until something goes wrong. One simple way to ensure good podiatric health is by regularly examining your feet to detect potential problems. Below are five checkpoints:
- Skin and toenails—look for any signs of skin irritation such as blisters, redness, calluses or corns. Bruises, lumps, discoloration or changes in existing moles or freckles are all possible indicators of a foot condition. Toenails that appear to be getting thicker or have a yellowish, brownish discoloration or any crumbling at the edges might be a sign of a fungal infection.
- Circulation—good blood flow is essential for healthy feet and wound healing. Try this simple test: press down on the nail of your big toe until it looks white. Let go and see how long it takes for the blood flow to come back to your toe and it returns to normal color. On average this should take about two to five seconds. A blue, red or purple tinge to toes may also be a sign of poor circulation.
- Sensation—using a pencil eraser, lightly run it around the top, bottom and sides of both of your feet. You should be able to feel it equally on all parts of your feet. Neuropathy or nerve damage is associated with diabetes and can result in loss of feeing in your feet. Pain is never a “normal” sensation in your feet.
- Flexibility—you should be able to flex your feet without pain or discomfort. Try picking up a marble or dish towel with your toes. Test ankle flexibility by hanging your heel off a stair and allowing it to drop below the level of the stair. Flexibility can be improved with exercises and regular physical activity.
- Balance—good balance is a key factor in preventing fall injuries. Balance may decrease with age. To assess your balance, stand on one foot with your arms out to the side and your eyes closed. You should be able to hold this stance for 15 seconds if you are under 30, 12 seconds between 30 and 40, 10 seconds between 40 and 50 and 7 seconds if you are over 50.
If you find anything concerning or abnormal when conducting a self-exam, contact one of our six Hartford and Middlesex County offices to make an appointment. Our podiatrists Jeffrey S. Kahn, D.P.M., Craig M. Kaufman, D.P.M., Ayman M. Latif, D.P.M. or Raffaella R. Pascarella, D.P.M. will examine your feet and determine if there is a problem that needs treatment.