The foot is a complex body part, but it’s usually forgotten that they are essential to our daily lives and that we should care for them properly. Not giving your feet the attention they deserve can lead to numerous foot problems like Achilles tendinitis, plantar fasciitis, and bursitis. Even more, your feet can tell a lot about your overall health. Pain and discomfort in your feet while walking or standing can be symptoms of an underlying medical condition.
Keep on reading to discover eight things your feet can tell about your overall health.
1. Cold feet and toes
Cold feet may indicate a severe vascular disease or a circulatory disorder. Poor blood circulation caused by health conditions like peripheral artery disease (PAD) may result in your feet feeling colder than the rest of your body. Some diseases linked to PAD may result in blocked arteries (peripheral artery occlusion) or artery spasm (Reynaud’s disease). Cold feet can also occur due to poor blood flow as a result of smoking, diabetes, obesity, and varicose veins. Conditions like hyperglycemia can lead to narrowed arteries and reduce blood supply to tissues in your legs, which can result in cold feet.
2. Foot pain during weight-bearing activity
Foot and ankle pain are among the main reasons why millions of people visit podiatric specialists annually. The most common culprits of pain on feet or ankles include tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, and stress fractures. An injury and pain in your feet can also be triggered by diabetic arthropathy and arthritis.
3. Burning pain
Stabbing, sharp, throbbing, or burning pain in the legs typically occurs due to degenerated, inflamed, or pressured nerve. This nerve damage is called neuropathy. Diabetes, thyroid disorders, alcohol abuse, infections, and autoimmune disorders can all lead to nerve damage, resulting in a burning pain in your feet.
4. Painful swelling in big toe and feet
Sudden swelling in the ankle or foot can occur due to numerous reasons like ill-fitting shoes or pregnancy complications. Swollen ankles and feet can also indicate a more severe problem like arthritis, venous insufficiency, neuropathic arthropathy, gout, or renal disease. Gout is a condition caused by high levels of uric acid in the bloodstream. This condition is especially hard to diagnose as it has symptoms similar to other conditions like Charcot arthropathy, infection and deep vein thrombosis.
5. Toenail discoloration or deformation
There are many causes of discolored toenails like nail fungus and overuse injury due to sports like tennis, bowling, and hiking. Adults over the age of 50 are prone to experience yellow nail syndrome, which is a condition that causes your nails to turn yellow. Systemic diseases like psoriasis and endocrine disorders can weaken the structures that hold your toenails, resulting in nail deformities.
6. An ulcer that isn’t healing
Sores and ulcers should heal over a short period of time. If you have a painful sore or ulcer that won’t heal, it can be due to improper blood flow caused by diabetes or peripheral neuropathy. An ulcer or sore that doesn’t heal can also be a sign of basal cell cancer.
7. Dark spots or bruises under a toenail
Black toenails typically occur due to an injury, anemia, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes.
In rare cases, black lines or spots underneath your toenails can be caused by melanoma. Melanoma is a potentially lethal type of skin cancer that appears in the form of brown or black misshapen spots.
8. Loss of sensation or tingling in feet and toes
Continuous numbness or tingling sensation in the feet may be caused by diabetes, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, and peripheral artery disease. An insect or animal bite and some toxins contained in seafood can also lead to loss of sensation and tingling. This problem can also occur due to abnormal levels of vitamin B12 and drug treatment like chemotherapy.