What does your feet say about your health
LOS ANGELES, CA (BDCi) — Your feet must last a lifetime, and most Americans log an amazing 75,000 miles on their feet by the time they reach age 50. Regular foot care can make sure your feet are up to the task.
With proper detection, intervention, and care, most foot and ankle problems can be lessened or prevented. BDCi News did a research around the web and was able to put this list together to help you understand how your feet might be telling you what’s wrong with your health.
If your toes are always cold, one reason could be poor blood flow — a circulatory problem sometimes linked to smoking, high blood pressure, or heart disease. The nerve damage of uncontrolled diabetes can also make your feet feel cold to you. Other possible causes include hypothyroidism and anemia. A doctor can look for any underlying problems — or let you know that you simply have cold feet.
When your feet ache after a long day, you might just curse your shoes. After all, eight out of 10 women say their shoes hurt. But pain that’s not due to sky-high heels may come from a stress fracture, a small crack in a bone. One possible cause: Exercise that was too intense, particularly high-impact sports like basketball and distance running. The weakened bones of osteoporosis increase your risk.
3. Heel Pain
The most common cause of heel pain is plantar fasciitis, inflammation where this long ligament attaches to the heel bone. The pain may be sharpest when you first wake up and put pressure on the foot. Arthritis, excessive exercise, and poorly fitting shoes also can cause heel pain, as can tendonitis. Less common causes include a bone spur on the bottom of the heel, a bone infection, tumor, or fracture.
4. Clubbed Toes
In clubbing, the shape of the toes (and often the fingers) changes. The nails are more rounded on top and curve downward. Lung disease is the most common underlying cause, but it also can be caused by heart disease, liver and digestive disorders, or certain infections. Sometimes, clubbing runs in families without any underlying disease.
This is usually a temporary nuisance caused by standing too long or a long flight — especially if you are pregnant. In contrast, feet that stay swollen can be a sign of a serious medical condition. The cause may be poor circulation, a problem with the lymphatic system, or a blood clot. A kidney disorder or underactive thyroid can also cause swelling. If you have persistent swelling of your feet, see a physician.
6. Burning Feet
A burning sensation in the feet is common among diabetics with peripheral nerve damage. It can also be caused by a vitamin B deficiency, athlete’s foot, chronic kidney disease, poor circulation in the legs and feet (peripheral arterial disease), or hypothyroidism.
7. Sores That Don’t Heal
Foot sores that will not heal are a major warning sign for diabetes. Diabetes can impair sensation in the feet, circulation, and normal wound healing, so even a blister can become a troublesome wound. Those sores also are prone to infection. Diabetics should wash and dry their feet and check them for any wounds every day. Slow-healing of sores also can be caused by poor circulation from conditions such as peripheral artery disease.
8. Pain in the Big Toe
Gout is a notorious cause of sudden pain in the big toe joint, along with redness and swelling (seen here). Osteoarthritis is another culprit that causes pain and swelling. If the joint is rigid, it may be hallux rigidus, a complication of arthritis where a bone spur develops. Finally, turf toe is an ailment of athletes, particularly those who play on hard surfaces. It’s caused by an injury to ligaments surrounding the joint.
10. Pain in the Smaller Toes
If you feel like you’re walking on a marble, or if pain burns in the ball of your foot and radiates to the toes, you may have Morton’s neuroma, a thickening of tissue around a nerve, usually between the third and fourth toes. It is eight to 10 times more common in women than in men. It is caused by injury or too much pressure on the toes.
11. Yellow Toenails
Your toenails tell a lot about your overall health. A fungal infection often causes thickened yellow toenails. Thick, yellow nails also can be a sign of an underlying disease, including lymphedema (swelling related to the lymphatic system), lung problems, or rheumatoid arthritis.
Taking care of your feet is an important part of your overall health!