Your feet are the foundation of your body. With 26 bones in each foot, one quarter of the bones in your body exists in your feet. This complex and sophisticated appendage does a huge amount of work to keep you supported, upright, balanced and healthy throughout your life.
Good health starts from the ground up. Your feet can tell you a lot about underlying health conditions before they show up anywhere else. From tingly feelings and numbness, to joint aches or ulcers, your feet will show you symptoms that you can attend to before they become a more serious problem.
1. A wound under your foot that takes a long time to heal
If you have a wound or an open sore that won’t heal under your foot, this may be signalling an increased risk of diabetes developing.
Diabetes can lead to changes in circulation and delay the natural healing process for cuts and sores, therefore increasing the risk of infection and ulcerations.
Diabetes may also lead to changes in the nerves and sensation in the feet called peripheral neuropathy. Nerve damage may affect how you feel pressure or pain and may lead to numbness in your toes or feet.
Related article: https://sanderspodiatry.com.au/diabetes-management/
2. Cold feet
Peripheral arterial disease (PAD( or poor circulation means that the blood takes longer to reach certain parts of your body such as the legs and feet. PAD is the narrowing of the arteries and may be a sign of blood congestion in other parts of the body, such as the heart. If your feet or lower legs are always cold and you struggle to warm them up, we recommend visiting your local GP for a check up.
3. Thick gnarly or yellow toenails
If any of your toenails are become thick, yellow or gnarly, then you may have a fungal infection.
Fungal infections such as tinea occur most commonly in the toenails. A warm and moist environment is ideal for fungus to grow and spread and the fungus distorts the growth of the nail affecting the nailbed. Often these can be treated with a topical cream form the chemist, but they may be recurring if you have an underlying health condition.
4. Painful big toe
If you have a sudden onset of severe pain in your big toe, this could be gout.
Gout is a type of inflammatory arthritis, caused by a build-up of uric acid crystals in the joints. It can affect the hands, elbows, knees and wrists but most commonly it affects the feet, especially the big toe.
The pain of a gout attack can be intense, with swelling and sensitivity. Our clients will tell us they wake in the middle of the night feeling like their big toe is on fire. The toe joint feels hot, swollen and too tender to touch.
5. Numbness and tingling in feet
If you have persistent numbness and tingling in both feet, this could be sign of peripheral neuropathy which is nerve damage. This affects how you feel pressure or pain and may lead to numbness in your toes or feet.
Other symptoms of peripheral neuropathy include cold feet, sharp pain, pins and needles, tingling, tightness in the legs, increased sensitivity, loss of balance and coordination and changes in skin colour and dryness.
6. Stiff joints
If you have pain in your toe joints, ankles or feet, then this could be a sign of rheumatoid arthritis which often starts in the smaller joints of the hands and feet. If the joints are persistently aching or swelling, then please see your doctor for a proper diagnosis.
7. Blue-purple coloured toenails
If your toenails are blue or purplish in colour, this could be a sign of PAD (Peripheral arterial disease). PAD is essentially poor circulation which if left untreated can lead to cardiovascular disease.
Regular podiatry checks will help you maintain long term health and wellbeing
Regular podiatry checks will help you make healthier long-lasting lifestyle changes. Give us a call at the clinic and make an appointment with one of our podiatrists. We work with all ages, children, adults, sports people and a range of conditions.
Our podiatry team consults in Linden Park opposite Burnside Village, Mount Barker and Stirling. Call us on one of the numbers below to make an appointment.