Feet swelling? See your podiatrist to rule out serious health issuesWe all know there are times when you can ignore a twinge in your foot. But there are also clear signs of when to see a podiatrist. Notice one of the signs below, or see something new and strange?  Come in immediately for a visit with your Houston podiatrist. And now read on to learn about six of those shouldn’t-be-ignored indicators. 

When to See a Podiatrist: Dangerous Foot Symptoms You Can't Ignore

We know it can be tempting to walk off foot pain. To hope that ignoring the problem means it will go away. But I'm here to tell you: that just doesn't work. Especially if you've noticed one of these six symptoms: 

  1. Foot cramping and spasms:

    Foot cramps could mean you have nerve compression in your feet. But it could also be a sign of an inadequate blood supply to the feet. Now, an occasional foot cramp should not be a cause for concern. Still, if you're regularly experiencing problems, this is when to see a podiatrist. More specifically, me! 
  2. Heel pain:

    If you feel a sharp pain in your heels, especially when you first wake up in the morning, you may have plantar fasciitis. This describes an inflammation of the plantar fasciia. (Remember, that's the connective tissue running from your heel along the bottom of your foot.) And it's better treated sooner rather than later, because heel pain is progressive. Now, when you come in early, I can help you manage the pain with less invasive treatments. Plus, I cam suggest some lifestyle changes to help you heal. These can include better shoe choices that can help correct the issue. Or a pair of custom orthotics that can take some pressure off your feet. 
  3. Swollen feet:

    Sometimes, you can pinpoint the reason why your feet have swelled up. (It could be that you’re pregnant or just got off a long-flight.) But if you don't have a good reason to explain that swelling? Well, this is when to see a podiatrist. Why? Swollen feet are a major red flag, because they can point to a problem with your lymphatic system, a blood clot or just poor circulation. And any of these problems, if left untreated, can make it harder for wounds to heal. So, especially if you are diabetic,, this can contribute to the development of dangerous ulcers. *Scroll down to the end of this post if you want to learn about one non-emergency that could make your feet swell. (Hint: it's related to running.) 
  4. Cold feet:

    If your feet are always cold, it could be a sign that you have peripheral neuropathy. (This condition describes loss of blood flow to the appendages.) People who have diabetes are most likely to develop neuropathy. But other causes, including chemo, can contribute. Seeing a doctor immediately could help stop or even reverse the progression of this condition. So noting a chill in your toes is a sign of when to see a podiatrist. 
  5. Dips in your toenails:

    Most toenails are raised in the middle. Now,  if yours have an inwardly curving, spoon-like shape? Well, this could mean that you have anemia. (And, since that's an insufficient iron supply in your blood, this is when to see a podiatrist. As well as another doctor, if I can confirm or suspect your anemia.)
  6. Yellow toenails:

    A thick, yellow toenail isn’t just unattractive; it’s probably got a fungal infection. Wondering when to see a podiatrist with a nail color change? Well, the sooner you come in, the sooner you can begin to treat the problem. In fact, you can even receive temporary aesthetic fixes so you don’t have to be embarrassed to show off your nails. Which matters a whole lot, here in the hot Houston fall, spring and summer. 

Foot Pain After Running: Why Runner's Feet Start Swelling 

So, I mentioned that swollen feet should send you to the doctor, but if you're a runner, that may not be necessary. That's because many runners' feet will stop swelling as soon as their run ends, their shoes loosen up or both. 

Why? Often, feet swell because of additional blood flow. And your blood flow increases as you run because your limbs need more oxygen to support your efforts. So, the extra blood can increase your blood flow, making sneakers feel tight. As a result, loosening your laces could make you comfortable, and your feet should return to normal at the end of your workout. If this doesn't happen on its own, try soaking those feet with some epsom salts and giving them a nice rub down. 

Of course, other times, the impact of your workout could be straining the valves in your veins. This could impede your blood flow, and allow blood to pool in your feet, causing them to swell. If this is your problem, you'll need more than a loose shoe; you'll need to address your vein health with a specialist.

Still haven't discovered the cause of your swollen runner's feet? It could be an undetected injury: an ankle sprain, stress fracture or even tendinitis could all cause your feet to swell up. And don't think that your ability to keep running means this isn't your problem. Many people can push through the pain for runs. But doing so makes everything much, much worse. 

Other Causes of Foot Pain After Running

If your feet hurt after running, you may have tendon issues. We've already talked about plantar fasciitis, which could cause pain when you first wake up in the morning. But it could also give you foot pain after running, as could Achilles tendinitis. (That's inflammation in your Achilles tendon.) 

Of course, with a stress fracture injury like we just described, your feet could hurt after you run. Yet even something as simple as a blister could leave you with foot pain after running. Especially if you change out of running shoes and into a pair that rubs at your sore spot. 

So, now we've broken down why running might make your feet swell. Or leave you with foot pain after running. And you know that the cause could be a normal result of an intense workout...but it could also be a sign of a major problem. 

And do you know where we now have to circle back? If you experience any of the six symptoms I reviewed, that's when to see a podiatrist. Avoiding this outcome is just a recipe for disaster. In fact, any time you are experiencing foot pain, either from an injury or for no apparent reason, schedule an appointment with Dr. Andrew Schneider as soon as possible so you can start feeling better quickly. 

Dr. Andrew Schneider
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A podiatrist and foot surgeon in Houston, TX.