Last night I checked my feet. I don’t know why. They do not hurt. But I gave them a good look over on the bottoms, tops, heels, in between my toes. A foot check-up ! It has been a while since I’ve done that! I see and help so many feet during the day in my occupation, and I am very good about wearing good shoes, but checking my feel regularly? Admittedly, I have not! We are all guilty of ignoring our feet unless they make us pay attention to them!
As I was looking, I realized many of you out there reading this may now be thinking about doing so yourselves, but have no clue what you are looking for. And if you found something, would it be something you would need me to look at? I thought I might share with you a list of things you may want to see your podiatrist for!
Looking at those feet, notice the nails. Are they yellowish or opaque? Are they brittle? You may have a nail fungus . A fungus that has taken root in your nail is very rarely rid of with over the counter topical product (and that is assuming you are willing to use that product consistently for at least 8 months!)
Do you have a dark stripe or splotch under the nail that has not grown out with the growth of the nail? Do you have a mole that has grown, darkened or become irregular? Or maybe a mole has developed that was not there before? Or maybe there is just a strange looking discoloration you did not have before. Believe it or not, skin cancer can happen on the foot or under the nail! If there is any question, have it checked out!
Look in between the toes. Is it scaly? Is it red? You may have athletes foot (a form of fungus!) or worse, a bacterial infection! Fungus like to start here where it is especially dark and moist between the toes before spreading the sides or bottom of the feet! What is the quality of the skin on the sides and bottom? When fungus gets a hold, feet or nails, it is tough to shake off quickly. Scratching can introduce bacteria into those areas and no fungal cream out there will make bacteria go away! Get to it before it starts letting you know it’s around!
Look for areas of the skin that look thicker. Is it a pin point callus , a broad callus or is it a wart ? Or could you have possibly stepped on something ? Sometimes it is hard to tell. They are all treated differently, but one thing is common for all. They all do worse in the long run if they are picked at with whatever contraption you may have gotten a hold of in the bathroom!
Do you have what looks like a mini grand canyon invading your heels? We call these “fissures”. This condition is hereditary and does not go away with simple lotions. Worse, the deeper the canyons get, the greater the chance of you developing a bacterial infection in the deepest grooves. Treatment is advised for fissures before they become painful.
Feel the bottoms of your feet with the pressure of a massage. (Not a bad idea in either case!) Do you feel any deep lumps ? You should not have any. If you do, let us take a look and feel. It is good to get what we call a “baseline” or early measurement. Getting a look and feel and measuring these lumps will give us the best information on whether this lump something that needs to come out or whether it just needs to be monitored.
Are you checking yet? If you can’t see the bottoms, use a mirror or have someone else take a look! Don’t have either option? We won’t retire for a while! Come out for visit!