Did you know that many other health issues can be determined just by looking at your feet. It’s a strange connection but your feet often offer clues to your health. The condition of your feet can give you clues to a host of medical issues, such as diabetes, arthritis, and even heart disease.
Here are some things to look for that may indicate you need to see a doctor or pedorthist soon:
Numbness in the Feet
Numbness in the feet is a symptom of many ailments including Peripheral artery disease (PAD), Diabetes, neurological problems, arthritis, or long-standing alcoholism. These all affect the circulation and blood supply to the feet.
Foot pain can be an indicator of a variety of conditions from fractures to plantar fasciitis to arthritis. The difference between the ailments is the time of day which the pain occurs. If the pain occurs first thing in the morning then it might be arthritis or plantar fasciitis. With both conditions, pain will recede as the foot loosens up throughout the day. Plantar Fasciitis often affects runners and people who are overweight. If the pain worsens throughout the day, it might be an indication of a fracture. Pain caused by fractures will worsen as weight bearing increases and lessen when resting. Fractures, or small cracks in the bone, can be caused by overactivity or changes in activity, like trying a new exercise
Discoloration in the Foot or Nails
Discoloration in the skin, moles, dark spots under nails or lumps should all be reviewed by a doctor. Skin cancer is the most common cancer seen in the foot so if you see anything unusual or new consult with your doctor.
Swelling in the Feet
Swelling does occur after long periods of standing but if you have swollen feet without standing and no injuries it may be a sign of something else. You may need to have your thyroid tested or it may be a reaction to medication. In some cases it may be a sign of congestive heart failure
Cold feet is caused by poor circulation and is a complication of diseases such as PAD. Risk factors include smoking, high blood pressure, heart disease, and history of stroke and mostly affects men over 50. Coldness along with toes that turn colors – from white or blue to red – may be due to Raynaud’s disease, a common condition in which the blood vessels spasm and constrict in response to cold temperatures.
Itchy feet may signal a fungal infection. If the itchiness is accompanied by a white, scaly or flaky rash, cracks between the toes that itch,sting and burn then it might signal athletes foot. Athlete’s foot mostly happens when sweaty feet are confined in tight shoes, but is contagious and can also be spread through contaminated surfaces like towels, floors, and other shoes
Changes in Gait
Any changes in gait should be reported to your doctor immediately. Whether it be pain, numbness or a sudden change. Numbness can result in falls and pain is always a sign there is a problem. Sudden changes in gait could be the result of neurological problems ranging from serious issues like stroke and multiple sclerosis, to more minor problems like a herniated disk in your back