Things Your Feet Are Telling You About Your Health
When you walk, each foot carries 1.5 times your body weight, and over a single day, your feet will take a cumulative force of a couple of hundred tons. Having in mind that your feet are going to carry you around for an average of 110,000 miles during your lifetime, nurturing their health and wellbeing should be one of your top priorities.
On the other side, your feet are a great diagnostic tool that your doctor can use if you notice warning signs your body is giving you.
Here is what to pay attention to.
Dry and Cracked Skin
If the skin on your feet is dry, cracked or flaky, it could be a cosmetic problem, which you can solve easily with proper care. On the other side, dry and itchy skin on your feet can also point to certain health issues. The most common related skin conditions can include leg vein problems, athlete’s foot, and psoriasis, as well as atopic dermatitis, and all of these conditions should be treated by a professional.
Sometimes, dry skin can be the result of a considerable physical strain on your feet or aging, but if besides dry skin you’re experiencing weight gain or numbness in your hands, consult your physician. The underlying health conditions which can cause your feet to become cracked and flaky are diabetes and hypothyroidism, as well as malnutrition, so it’s best to have it properly checked.
Discoloration of Your Toenails
If your toes start to appear white, yellow or green, such discolorations can be a sign of various skin problems, caused by different sorts of fungi and bacteria. Discoloration can also point to some more serious chronic health issues, such as diabetes, or certain heart, kidney, lung or liver conditions.
When you seriously injure your toe, it will usually result in the red or blue discoloration. An injury can also be the cause of an ingrown toenail, so if you notice such an occurrence, make sure to look for the professional advice, as it may easily get infected and lead to more problems.
Numbness in Your Feet
A feeling of numbness in your feet is most often the result of sitting for too long in a position that reduces your blood flow, such as sitting with your legs crossed or sitting on your feet. Still, if such a condition lasts longer, and you don’t really have an idea why that happens, it can be a sign or a result of numerous health conditions, such as:
Injuries to the torso, spine, ankles, hips, and legs
Lower back issues
Tarsal tunnel syndrome
Peripheral artery disease
Tumors and cysts
Mini-strokes and strokes.
The treatment of numbness, and other sensations that often accompany it, such as tingling or burning sensation, will vary depending on the cause, so it’s best to talk to your physician about this. Pay special attention to numbness if you are diabetic, as 60-70% of persons with diabetes may have neuropathy.
If your second toe seems longer than you’re the first one, you have Morton’s Toe, a common hereditary bone structure. Although it may seem that it’s about your second toe bone being longer than the first one, it’s really about your first metatarsal bone (the bone connecting your toe with the back of your feet) being shorter than your second one, which causes more weight pressure on the second, thinner bone.
Even though there are some studies suggesting that Morton’s Toe is an advantage in athletics, the way in which weight is distributed can be a cause of pain and tenderness, and if such pains occur, talk to your doctor about possible treatments.
Your Toes Are Balding
Even though toe hair can more easily be spotted in men, women also have it. Hairless toes or feet can actually be a sign of a serious vascular disease, caused by plaque building up in your arteries, and preventing the blood from flowing. This condition is known as peripheral arterial disease, and if left untreated it can have serious consequences on your health, such as stroke or heart attack, while it can also lead to amputation.
While you’re doing your best to keep your feet healthy so that they can serve you well for many years to come, pay attention to what they’re trying to say too, and watch out for the red flags.