In celebration of Foot Health Awareness Month, check your feet and ankles at home using these simple steps:

• Skin: Check each foot for calluses, blisters or irritation. Now put your hand inside your shoe. Are there seams, tacks or rough places in the shoe that correspond to the areas of irritation, calluses or blisters?

• Flexibility: To test ankle flexibility, hang your heel over the edge of a stair while standing on the stair facing the stair. Let the heel go below the level of the stair. If this causes pain, stop the test. If your heel goes below the level of the stair without causing strain in your calf, that is excellent. If there is some strain, this can be improved with flexibility exercises.

• Balance: Stand on one foot, with your arms out to the side and your eyes closed. If you are less than 30 years old, you should be able to balance for 15 seconds; 30 to 40 years old for 12 seconds; 40 to 50 years old for 10 seconds; and over 50 years old for 7 seconds. This can be improved with balance exercises.

Source: American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society

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