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The Importance of Foot Self-Exams

When it comes to your health, you are the one true expert. You know when you are experiencing pain, discomfort, or any other change from your baseline level of health. It is extremely important to be familiar with the condition of your feet so that you can catch irregularities in their early stages and report them to your podiatrist. Everyone should perform foot self-exams, but certain groups of people, like diabetics, athletes, and the elderly, are more prone to certain conditions and should inspect more frequently.

Here are some specific areas of focus for your self-exam:

  1. Skin: Observe your skin for any breaks or irritations in the form of calluses, corns, blisters, rashes, or ulcers. Take note of any color changes, as bluish, reddish, or purplish skin can indicate an underlying circulation issue.
  2. Pain: Do you feel any pain in your feet or ankles? Was the pain brought on by any specific activity, or did it come on gradually? Test out all of your shoes to determine if they are still the appropriate sizes.
  3. Sensation: Pick a small, rod-like object (pencil eraser, toothpick, etc.) and tap or drag the object on all sides of your foot. All parts should feel the same (except for the sole of the foot, which is a little more ticklish). If not, there might be nerve dysfunction.
  4. Flexibility: Being flexible doesn’t always mean being able to touch your toes while keeping your legs straight. However, see if you can perform some basic foot and toe stretches and ankle and lower leg stretches without experiencing pain.

When performing your self-examination, note any changes from your last exam and consider bringing these to the attention of your podiatrist for further investigation. For those in Central New York, board-certified podiatrist Dr. Ryan L. D’Amico of Syracuse Podiatry is who you want to see for all of your foot and ankle ailments. He can treat the above issues, and then recommend ways to prevent some of them from recurring. Patients of all ages are encouraged to contact us or call our Fayetteville office at (315) 446-3668 to ask questions or to make an appointment!

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