10 Serious Health Warning That Come From Your Feet

Your feet contain a quarter of your body’s bones; 66 joints; 200 tendons, muscles and ligaments; ignoring foot problems can quickly affect the rest of the body in a variety of ways. Additionally, problems affecting your entire body such as certain diseases or infections may first present in your feet.

Here are 10 red-flags your feet may send you and what to do if you notice any of these:

  1. Indentations in your toenail: This could be a sign of anemia. Schedule an appointment with your doctor for a blood test
  2. Frequent foot cramps: Could signal calcium deficiencies in your diet. Try doing some foot stretches and add calcium-rich products like milk into your diet.
  3. A foot sore that won’t heal: Ulcers are a hallmark symptom of advanced diabetes. See your doctor immediately (and perform daily foot checks to keep wounds from progressing to this dangerous point.)
  4. Thick yellow toenails: This is a sign of a fungal infection beneath the nails. See your podiatrist as prescription medications will stop the problem quicker than OTC creams.
  5. Your big toe looks red and enormous: You probably have gout (a form of arthritis caused by a buildup of uric acid in the blood.) Plan on changing your diet with the aid of your physician and seek pain-relief from your doc as well.
  6. Numb feet: Usually a sign of peripheral neuropathy, a typical symptom of diabetes. This can’t be reversed, but your podiatrist can help you manage the discomfort of the condition and minimize impact on your foot health.
  7. Dry, flaky skin, especially between your toes: This could be the beginning of an athlete’s foot infection. See your doctor for a prescription before it progresses too far.
  8. Feet that hurt when you walk: You may have an undiagnosed stress fracture; in older individuals, an underlying cause like osteoperia (weakening of bone density) could be to blame. Get an x-ray and talk to your doctor about your bone health.
  9. Shooting pains in your heels: Most likely plantar fasciitis, an inflammation of the connective tissue that runs along the bottom of your feet. See your podiatrist for treatment options.
  10. Stinky feet: Unlike other signs, this one isn’t a cause for worry. Your feet may just have more active sweat glands; wash them carefully with antibacterial soap and rub cornstarch or antiperspirant into your soles before putting on socks and shoes in the morning. 
Dr. Andrew Schneider
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A podiatrist and foot surgeon in Houston, TX.