At Paul Klein, DPM, FACFAS, we want our patients to have the healthiest feet possible. One way you as a patient can help maintain good podiatric health is by committing to conducting self-exams on your feet and ankles. These in no way replace your regularly scheduled exams with our podiatrist, Dr. Paul G. Klein, but are rather a way to be proactive in your foot care. Self-exams can help you detect foot and ankle problems in their earliest stages when they are most easily treated.
Below are the basics of a good foot self-exam:
Appearance—do you notice anything unusual about how your feet look? Are there any changes in size or shape or toes moving out of position? Check for redness, skin rashes, blisters, bruises or dry and flaky skin. If you have a small cut on your foot, make sure that it is healing in a reasonable amount of time. Changes in skin color or nails that are discolored, chipping or crumbling should also be brought to the podiatrist’s attention.
Sensation—do you have good sensation in all parts of your feet? Drag a pencil eraser over the top, bottom, and sides of your feet. You should have equal feeling in all areas. Decreased or loss of sensation could indicate neuropathy, a potentially dangerous condition which is often associated with diabetes. Other unusual feelings in your feet—burning, tingling, pins, and needles—are also potential warning signs of chronic foot conditions.
Movement and Balance—flex your feet and toes and rotate your ankles. Do you detect any stiffness or decrease in the range of motion in your feet? Try this simple balance test: close your eyes and stand on one foot with your hands outstretched to the sides. Depending on your age, you should be able to hold this position for 7-15 seconds. Note changes in balance from one self-exam to the next.
It only takes a few minutes to conduct a thorough self-examination of your feet, but it can save you many hours of pain and treatment if you are diligent and report anything unusual to the podiatrist promptly. If you have found something concerning, contact our Wayne, NJ office today by calling (973) 595-1555 and scheduling an appointment.