When patients come to the podiatrist to have their feet evaluated, one part of the physical exam includes palpating or feeling the pulses in the feet. The two places that pulses are easily felt in the foot are the dorsalis pedis and the posterior tibial arteries. (see diagram). These two arteries carry blood to the feet. If your doctor can’t feel your pulses then the index of suspicion increases. There may be an underlying problem which could lead to significant risks for your foot health.
The tissues in the body need good blood flow in order to receive the nutrients and oxygen necessary to function. When blood flow decreases, the potential to heal a cut or wound decreases. If the feet aren’t getting good blood flow, there is a risk of complications such as poor wound healing and increased risk of ulceration.
If the feet are at higher risk for ulceration and then have a lessened ability to heal, it goes to show that it would be very important to check your feet daily.
What are you checking for?
You should be checking your feet for cuts, sores, swelling, redness, and blisters. These are signs that there is a problem that you need to resolve quickly by seeing your podiatrist. Using the skills, products, instruments, and clinical judgment available to them, podiatrists can prevent a small cut or sore from becoming a major problem that could lead to infection, or loss of limb.
So, if you can’t reach your feet anymore to inspect them, take a small mirror and place in on the floor, have a spouse or loved one look at your feet. Check for these signs and keep your feet healthy!