Why you should examine the bottom of your feet

Unless you’ve spent endless hours on your feet, you probably don’t give them much thought. It’s only when they’re hurting that your feet even get a look in.

However, a study out of Japan has found a new reason why you need to be getting up close and personal with your tootsies — it will protect you from melanoma.

Researchers found that melanoma more commonly strikes the forefoot and rear-foot soles. These are the areas that make the most contact with the ground when you walk or run.

Interestingly, sun exposure does not cause the melanoma on your soles. It’s purely and simply because you are on your feet.

Dr Ryuhei Okuyama says the cancer is likely caused by plantar pressure — the pressure you put on your feet just by standing — and stress, or the friction applied to your feet when walking or running.

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Such pressure and friction can damage your cells in ways similar to ultraviolet rays, but that doesn’t mean you should put your feet up altogether. As these things go, more research is needed… and melanoma on your feet are pretty rare when compared other forms of cancer.

What other reasons are there for checking your feet on a regular basis?

If you have diabetes, you’ll need to give your feet a thorough inspections because cuts and injuries to your feet could lead to infection and, in extreme cases, lead to amputation.

You might also suffer from numbness due to nerve damage and this makes it harder to detect pain or discomfort from wounds, like blisters or cracks in dry skin. Poor circulation from diabetes can also slow down healing, which put your feet at a much higher risk of ulcers that can become infected.

How often do you check out your feet? Have you encountered any problems with your feet that have required medical treatment?