Our feet can be one of the most ignored and taken for granted parts of our body. But believe it or not, our feet’s condition may actually give us a clue if we have serious health issues. Sudden changes in the appearance of your feet can be an indicator of a certain health problem.
Jake Heath, a podiatrist from One Wellness Clinic in Wimpole Street, London explains: “We neglect our feet and put up with signs and symptoms that, in any other part of the body, would have us running to medical professionals.”
#1. Enlarged Big Toe
Possible Health Issue: Gout
A sore, red, swollen big toe is one of the first symptoms of gout. This condition, which is a build-up of “razor-sharp uric acid crystals in a joint”, is usually caused by being overweight, high protein diet or even certain medications. It can also be inherited genetically.
Solution: See a GP immediately so you can be tested for gout. Lose weight, drink lots of water, or switch to a low protein diet to get rid of this condition. You can try reducing the pain by icing the joints and taking non-steroid anti-inflammatories.
#2. Cold Feet
Possible Health Issue: Hypothyroidism or Raynaud’s disease
If your hands or feet are feeling particularly chilly, you could be suffering from hypothyroidism or Raynaud’s disease. Symptoms such as weight gain, tiredness, aching muscles and depression may indicate hypothyroidism. Raynaud’s disease makes blood vessels to the toes and fingers hypersensitive to temperature, smoking, stress and medication.
Solution: Consult a GP immediately for a thyroid function test. Avoid extreme temperatures if you have suspected Raynaud’s disease.
#3. Numbness or Red Ulcers
Possible Health Issue: Diabetes
If you are experiencing loss of sensation or numbness in the feet as well as red ulcers that don’t heal, then there’s a big possibility that you have type 2 diabetes. These symptoms can indicate peripheral nerve damage linked to type 2 diabetes. Other symptoms include weight loss, tiredness, persistent thirst, and frequent urination.
Solution: If you notice any of these signs, see your doctor immediately.
#4. Club-shaped Nails
Possible Health Condition: Lung, cardiovascular or gastrointestinal problem
If the shape of your nails on the fingers or toes suddenly change into a clubbed appearance, then you could have a lung, cardiovascular or gastrointestinal health issue. This is brought about by the cut in the levels of oxygen in your blood.
Solution: Consult a GP or podiatrist and discuss the changes in shape or color of your nails.
#5. Hairless Toes
Having hairless toes can be a sign of peripheral vascular disease.
Possible Health Condition: Vascular Disease
Although having a hairy feet may seem disgusting, being totally devoid of hair in that particular body part can indicate a health issue. This could mean that the heart is having difficulty in pumping enough blood to your extremities causing problems with your circulation. As a result, the hair will not grow and the skin will look shiny.
Solution: See a GP immediately if you notice other symptoms such as discoloured feed, thick nails, as well as shiny skin.
#6. Thickened, discoloured or crumbling nails
Possible Health Condition: Psoriasis
Psoriasis, which is a chronic condition brought about by an overactive immune system, is linked to genetics, stress, or medication. People suffering from this condition also experience flaking, silvery, thick white, or red patches and even inflammation.
Solution: Steroid creams, oral medications and light therapy are some of the treatments for psoriasis. If you have pitted nails, see a GP as soon as possible.
#7. Sore toe joints
Possible Health Condition: Rheumatoid Arthritis
This auto-immune condition often affects the joints of the hand and feet at its early stage. A person with rheumatoid arthritis experience stiffness and swelling of the joints which are filled with fluids. As a result, the toes often feel tender and sensitive. This condition may eventually lead to intense pain and loss of movement.
Solution: To prevent damage to cartilage and joints, seek the help of your GP immediately.
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