Patient Education

Foot Self-Exam

Here are some helpful hints for checking if your feet are healthy and problem-free:

  • Skin: Do you have any calluses, corns, blisters, rashes, or irritations? Are you experiencing areas of friction or pressure due to ill-fitting footwear rubbing against the skin? Also, a bluish, reddish, or purplish tinge to the toes or feet can signal a problem with circulation.
  • Pain: Are you experiencing any pain or discomfort? Pain can be sudden or chronic; it can happen before, during, or after activities such as walking or running or even while just sitting still.
  • Sensation: Do you have normal foot sensation on all parts of the foot? Use a stick-type object with a dull end (such as a pencil’s eraser end) and gently drag it across the top, bottom, and left and right sides of both feet. The feeling should be the same in all areas except for the sole of the foot that is more ticklish. Decreased sensation can indicate nerve dysfunction and/ or diabetes.
  • Movement: Do you have good balance? Conduct a simple balance test to find out: stand on one foot, close your eyes, and stick your arms out to the sides; up to age 30, you should be able to balance for 15 seconds; 30 to 40 year olds should be able to keep their balance for 12 seconds; 40 to 50 year olds should hold their balance for 10 seconds; and people over 50 should be able to maintain their balance for 7 seconds.

Are your toes and ankles flexible? Try some basic foot, toe, ankle, and lower leg exercises. If you experience pain, there may be a problem present. If you feel a strain, it would be beneficial to start exercising these body parts regularly. See our “Foot and Toe Stretching Exercises” and our “Ankle and Lower Leg Stretching Exercises.”

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