Various pulse points exist on the human body -- such as on the temple, wrist or foot. Physicians check the different pulse points according to the purpose of their examination, such as palpating a foot pulse to determine vascular health. A foot pulse, also known as the dorsalis pedis pulse, may not be in the exact location on every person. Yet, once you know the general location, you should be able to find it.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
Ask the person to lie down on his back or sit in a chair with a footrest so that his heels are resting on the bed or footrest and the toes are pointing upward.
Place two fingers at crease of the ankle, directly above the area between the big toe and the second toe.
Slide your fingers downward, approximately halfway down the top of the foot. Rest your fingers on the bony area located between the first two toes of the foot to locate the pulse.
Tips and warnings
- Feel gently for the pulse because it can easily go unnoticed.
- In certain instances, you may not be able to locate a dorsalis pedis pulse. This can happen in healthy people, but also can indicate vascular disease or other complications.
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- "Emergency Care and Transportation of the Sick and Injured"; American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons; 2010
- Modules for Basic Nursing Skills: Volume I; Janice Rider Ellis, et al.; 1992
- University of Glasgow: Pulses of the Lower Limb
- Peripheral and Vascular Disease: Basic Diagnostic and Therapeutic Approaches; George S. Abela; 2004