Test your foot health

Balance is important in foot health

Test your foot healthEric M. Bluman, M.D., Ph.D., orthopaedic foot and ankle surgeon and American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society member, encourages individuals to perform some simple at-home tests to gauge foot health in light of National Foot Health Awareness Month.

First, Bluman says to check feet for blisters, callouses and inflammation. If any of these conditions are observed, check regularly worn shoes to see if any seams, tacks, areas of wear or rough patches correlate with affected areas of the foot to determine whether footwear is the cause of any problems.

Check the circulation in feet by pressing down on the toenail until it becomes white, then timing how quickly it regains color. Individuals with proper circulation should see a return of color in no more than five seconds, according to the doctor.

Test flexibility by attempting to pick up a marble or small dishtowel using the toes. Healthy individuals should be able to perform this task.

Be sure nerves are intact by running a pencil eraser along all parts of the foot. This should feel equal in all regions, though a little ticklish on the bottom.

Balance is extremely important in foot health. Individuals younger than 30 years old should be able to stand on one foot with eyes closed and arms extended for 15 seconds. With every 10 years of age after that, expect balance times to decline by about two seconds.

Additionally, foot pain is never normal. Those who experience pain stemming from bunions, hammer toe or fallen arches should seek treatment. Bunion splints and orthotics have been shown to be effective in preventing or treating bunions or hammer toe without the need for surgery. 

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