The start of the New Year is a good time to implement some new habits and at Long Island Foot & Ankle Group, PC one that we would like to suggest for our patients is doing periodic self exams on your feet. Now just to be clear, we are not suggesting that your exams take the place of one with our foot and ankle surgeons, Dr. Russell Caprioli, Dr. Mary Ann Bilotti, Dr. John Haight or Dr. Marzana Mleczko. Conducting self exams on your feet is a way to monitor the health of your feet and ankles between appointments and to catch new foot problems in their earliest stages. By getting into the habit of looking at your feet regularly you’ll be able to spot changes that may signal a developing issue. You can assess the condition of your feet by checking the following:
Skin—look over the skin on the top, bottom and sides of your feet and also check between your toes. Do you see any signs of irritation, such as redness, dry or flaky skin, blisters or sores? Note the color of your skin—tinges of blue, purple or red may indicate a circulation problem. Do you notice any bruising, swelling or growths on your feet?
Sensation—test the ability of your feet to feel by using the eraser end of a pencil and dragging it across all the parts of your feet. The sensation should be felt equally in your whole foot. If there are areas where the sensation is less or dulled this could be the sign of a nerve problem or a condition that causes neuropathy like diabetes.
Discomfort—are you currently experiencing any pain or uncomfortable sensations in your feet, toes or ankles? This includes pain that is intermittent or that only occurs during certain activities. Other sensations to be aware of are itching, burning and tingling in your feet.
Movement—flex your toes, feet and ankles. Do you notice any pain or stiffness? This may be a sign of arthritis or other joint disorder. Check your balance by closing your eyes and standing on one foot with your arms out to the sides. You should be able to hold this pose for at least 7-15 seconds.