April is Foot Health Awareness Month and at Long Island Foot & Ankle Group, PC, we would like to encourage patients to get more actively involved in the health and care of their feet by doing regular self-exams. Checking your feet on a regular basis will help you become more familiar with them and also enable you to spot problems promptly that require the attention of our foot and ankle surgeons, Dr. Russell Caprioli, Dr. Mary Ann Bilotti, Dr. John Haight or Dr. Marzana Mleczko. Early diagnosis and treatment of foot disorders almost always mean less invasive treatments and better outcomes. When evaluating your feet, you will want to check the following:
Skin Appearance—start by looking over your entire foot, top and bottom. Do you see any changes in skin color or notice any bruises, lumps or rashes? If you spot calluses or blisters, check your shoes to see if there are rough spots inside them or worn areas that may be causing friction or pressure on a specific part of your foot. Be alert to flaking skin and oozing as these may be signs of athlete’s foot (especially if your foot is very itchy).
Nails—examine your nails to be sure that no ingrown toenails are forming. Thickening toenails, crumbling edges or discoloration may indicate a fungal infection. Be sure there are no jagged edges and that nails are trimmed straight across (but not too short).
Sensation—using the eraser end of a pencil, run it over the top, bottom and sides of your feet. You should have equal sensation in all parts of your foot. Symptoms such as pain, burning, tingling and/or numbness can all be indicative of a variety of foot disorders and should be reported to the podiatrist.
Flexibility—do you have good range of motion in your feet or ankles? You should be able to flex and rotate your feet easily. Check your toes by seeing if you are able to pick up a marble or a dish towel with them. Stand on a step with your heel hanging off the edge. Hold onto the railing and slowly let your heel dip below the stair. If you have pain or this is difficult to do, ask the podiatrist about foot stretches and exercises to increase flexibility.
Circulation—there should be no swelling around your ankles, or blue, red or purple coloration on your feet. Wounds or cuts that are slow to heal may also be a sign of a circulation deficit.