Written by: Jackie Montpetit | City Center Program Manager | AdvantageHealth Corporation
Did you know that each one of your feet is made up of 26 bones, 33 joints, 107 ligaments, and 19 muscles? Many of us take healthy feet for granted and forget to appreciate our ability to do something as mundane as walking! In reality, we should be paying more attention because around 75% of the population experiences foot problems at some point in their lifetime. It’s important to assess your feet on a regular basis to keep them happy and healthy. Here are five steps to assessing their condition:
1. Check their appearance. Look for swelling, discoloration, and blisters. If something looks unusual, it’s time to contact your doctor.
2. Assess toe function. Try using your toes to pick up a small towel; this ability demonstrates a high level of functionality; if you can’t do it, keep practicing until you can!
3. Evaluate ankle flexibility. Hang the heel of your foot off the edge of a stair. If you can drop your heel below the level of the stair without too much strain in the calf, your flexibility is great!
4. Assess your sensation. Run the eraser end of a pencil along the tops, sides, and bottom of both feet. The sensation should feel the same on all parts (with a little extra tickle on the bottom!). If it doesn’t, try this exercise again in a few days.
5. Watch out for pain. If any of these assessments or any other movements cause pain, you should reach out to your doctor or a podiatrist.
Most foot troubles can often be avoided in just a few simple steps (pun intended!). Make sure you always wear shoes that are supportive, comfortable, and fit properly. Keep your feet clean by washing them daily with soap and warm water. Assess your feet using the list above at least once a month and contact a doctor if you are aware of any negative changes. Trim your toenails straight across so that they are not too long or too short. Lastly, treat your feet to a massage or hot soak every so often!
We rely on our feet to accomplish many of our daily tasks so make sure that you give them the attention they deserve. Take care of your tootsies diligently and respond quickly if something goes wrong!