Summer and Your Feet

I have missed all of you! I am so sorry for my prolonged absence! I was out on medical leave but thought that I would be able to be here with you every week but I was mistaken. I am happy to be back.


Since I have been out, the summer calendar pages have been flying! I can’t believe that we are only a month or so from the start of school. When I think of these lazy days of summer, I think of being outside and swimming and cookouts and lots of great family time.

But you know me, I also think about
Foot Melanoma

Yes, it is that time of year where we need to slather on the sunscreen and I am here to remind you to make sure that you put that sunscreen all over your feet too. Yes, your feet need protection from the sun’s rays just as your face, arms, and legs need protection. Believe it or not, the bottoms of your feet need to be protected too so make sure you put that sunscreen all over your feet.

Are you familiar with the American Academy of Dermatology’s guidelines for sunscreens, the application of sunscreen, and when you need sunscreen? To give you a summary, you need to use a sunscreen that protects from UVA and UVB rays, has an SPF of at least 30 and is water resistant. If your sunscreen of choice has these three components, then you doing great. You need to apply at least an ounce of sunscreen (think a shot glass full) and you need to reapply at least every two hours unless you have been in the water or you are sweating a lot. You can check the bottle for application instructions also. The guidelines from the AAD can be found here.

Foot Melanoma is the deadliest form a melanoma

Yes, sadly, it is. The prime reasons it is so deadly is that it often goes undetected until the disease has progressed. I want you to change this. I want to you to check your feet.  Yes, I want you to perform at least monthly (I am a bit obsessive because I would like you to do it weekly) checks. This check takes just a couple of minutes. Sit down on the side of the bed with a hand mirror and look at your feet. Look them over for any spots or unusual marks that you have not seen before. Take a hand mirror and really look at all sides of your foot. Look between your toes.

Do you see anything? If you do, you might want to check the ABCD’s of skin cancer.

A – Asymmetrical – Is the spot of irregular size and shape? Melanoma is asymmetrical.
B – Boarder – is the boarder of the spot irregular? Is it jagged, notched or blurred? Melanoma spots have irregular boarders.
C – Color – melanoma is usually a mix of colors not one solid color
D – Diameter – melanoma will grow while a mole will remain the same size. A spot bigger than the size of a pencil eraser should be cause for concern.
You also need to check your toe nails. Yes, you can get skin cancer under your toenail. If you see a spot on your nail, you need to watch the spot. If, as your nail grows, the spot moves then it is not melanoma. But if your nail grows and the spot stays in the same place then you could have a problem. I know that a many women use nail polish all year long on their toe nails but make sure you check those nails when you are doing polish changes.


As with any health concerns, if you are worried or concerned about a spot that you find; I suggest that you go to your friendly local podiatrist and have the spot checked. It is worth it. It can save your life. 

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