Ever wonder what you should be look for to make sure your feet are healthy? Just like the rest of your body, performing self exams is an important way to catch changes to your health. Remember, pain is a good indication of health, as a healthy foot never has persistent pain. Below are some general guidelines to make sure your feet remain in good shape.
A good test of balance is to stand on one foot with your arms out to the side and eyes closed. If you are less than 30 years old, you should be able to balance for 15 seconds. Those 30-40 years should hold for 12 seconds, 40-50 years old hold for 10 seconds and those over 50 for 7 seconds. Balance can be improved with exercises and practice.
What is the color of your toes? Are they a normal fleshy color or more red, purple, blue, or white? Try pressing down on the nail or tip of your big toe. Hold until the color blanches or turns white. Now let go and allow the normal color to return. This takes 2 to 5 seconds in a person with average circulation.
To test the flexibility of your toes try picking up a marble or small dishtowel with your toes. To check on the flexibility of your ankle, hang your heel off a stair. Now let your heel go below the level of the stair. If your heel goes below the level of the stair without causing strain in your calf this is a good result. Any strain is a sign of poor flexibility that should be addressed with stretching.
As people age, especially in diabetics, it is important to notice any changes to sensation. Take a pencil eraser or towel and lightly run it along the top, bottom, and sides of your feet. The sensation should feel equal in all areas.
Checking your skin for calluses, blisters, or areas of irritation is important. Before putting on your shoes make sure that they are shaped like your feet and do not have any seams, tacks, or rough places in the shoe could cause irritations. Also check your skin for any signs of discoloration or changes to moles as these may be hints to other health concerns.