What Our Footprint Reveals About Our Foot Health

Fingerprints reflect our individuality; footprints tell us about our foot health. A simple footprint test can help us identify the help our feet may need.


Footprints and foot health

Our footprint can reveal our foot health the same way that our fingerprint reveals our unique identity. With each step by a normal foot, the heel touches the ground first, and the foot rolls forward, flattening the arch slightly. When we push off the ball of the foot, the arch springs back and doesn’t touch the ground.

Some foot issues are revealed in the way they roll from heel to toe. When the foot rolls too much toward the inside, it can lead to arch strain and pain along the inside of the knee. If the foot rolls too much toward the outside, there is an increased risk of ankle sprains and stress fractures. We can compensate for both of these abnormal tendencies by trying the watermark test to make our personal footprint.

Footprint test

All you’ll need for this test is a basin of water and brown paper. Dip your feet in the water, and then walk across the paper to make your own footprints. Here’s what the watermark test can reveal:

  • If your footprint looks like an oblong pancake with toes, you have flat feet. To prevent arch strain and knee pain, try a molded arch support, and look for athletic shoes with “control” features to prevent your feet from rolling inward. If these measures don’t work, a foot specialist can recommend custom-orthotic inserts.
  • If you see little or no connection in your footprint between your toes and heel, you have a high arch and your weight is landing on the outside edge of your foot. Look for “stability” athletic shoes that offer extra cushioning for your foot. If you are prone to ankle injuries, try high-top athletic shoes that stabilize the foot and ankle to minimize the twisting that can result in injury.

If you experience pain for more than a few days, consult a specialist for help. When we give our feet the support they need, they can support us with an active lifetime of healthy movement.

Summit Orthopedics offers personalized foot and ankle expertise

Our fellowship-trained foot and ankle physicians understand that your mobility depends on the health of your feet and ankles. If you have suffered an injury or are experiencing symptoms that make walking painful, our team of foot and ankle specialists can help with conservative treatment, seasoned surgical teams, and expert rehabilitation support. Summit Orthopedics specialists have the expertise to evaluate your discomfort and develop a plan to quickly and safely get you back on your feet and on your way.

Start your journey to optimal foot health. Find your foot and ankle expert, request an appointment online, or call us at (651) 968–5201 to schedule a consultation.

Summit has convenient locations across the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area, serving Minnesota and western Wisconsin. We have state-of-the-art centers for comprehensive orthopedic care in Eagan, MNPlymouth, MN, Vadnais Heights, MN, and Woodbury, MN, as well as additional community clinics throughout the metro and southern Minnesota.

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  • Michael Castro, D.O.

    “I view the foot and ankle as a ‘perfect machine’ that is taken for granted…when it breaks down the effects can be profound. My focus and the focus of my team is to help get you back on your feet doing what you love.”

    More about this expert

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