What Your Feet Say About Your Health
November 9, 2017
Your feet are a good indicator of your overall health. Podiatrists can detect everything from diabetes to nutritional deficiencies by examining your feet.
It’s a shame most of us take our feet for granted…until they start hurting, and by then, the problem is usually so far advanced that basic foot care isn’t enough to remedy the issue.
- Foot cramps
Foot cramps, or charley horses, occur when the muscles of the leg and foot contract suddenly. They can be a single muscle spasm or come in waves that linger for a long time.
Foot cramps are often triggered by exercise and dehydration, both of which are minor issues that can be resolved quickly. However, frequent foot cramps can be a sign of calcium, potassium, or magnesium deficiencies.
- A wound that won’t heal
A persistent wound at the bottom of your foot can be a sign of diabetes. Elevated blood sugar causes nerve damage to the feet, which causes scrapes, cuts and sores to go unnoticed because you don’t feel the pain.
Some people have difficulty bending over to examine their feet because of limited mobility; a handheld mirror works great in this situation. If you notice a wound on your feet, especially on the bottom, see a doctor immediately. Do this even if you’re not experiencing other symptoms of diabetes such as increased thirst, frequent urination or fatigue.
- Cold Feet
Are your feet always cold? Cold feet can be a sign of an underactive thyroid in women and/or a sign of poor circulation in both men and women.
Sometimes all you need are thick wool socks and slippers to keep your feet warm. However, if the problem persists, see a doctor and explain your symptoms.
Loss of feeling or persistent “pins and needles” in both feet can be a sign of damage to the peripheral nervous system. Such damage might be the result of diabetes.
- Sore Joints
If your toe joints are constantly aching or swollen, it could be a sign of rheumatoid arthritis or degenerative joint disease. Typically the pain starts in the smaller joints before graduating to bigger joints.
- Red and Blue toes
If your toes keep changing colors from white, to blue and finally red in cold weather, it could be a sign of Raynaud’s disease. See a doctor to ensure that the symptoms aren’t a sign of an underlying autoimmune disease.
How to take better care of your feet:
- Wash your feet thoroughly and moisturize them regularly. This should take care of small issues like odor, bacteria, fungus and dryness.
- Have at least two pairs of “work shoes” and alternate them. This is important because it takes at least a day for the sweat in your shoes to dry completely.
- Wear comfortable shoes that provide arch support. This reduces your chances of developing flat feet and related foot problems.
- Wash your socks after every wear.
- See a doctor immediately if you experience recurring foot cramps, sores that won’t heal, cold feet, numbness, sore joints or red and blue toes.
Show your feet a little love by doing what you can to keep them healthy!