20 Things Your Feet Reveal About Your Health

By Rebecca Lewis on October 30, 2012

Sometimes, you don’t have to go out and see your doctor to know if you are in good health or not. You just have to be a little observant about your body. In fact, just by just taking a peek on your feet, you can actually detect health problems ranging from nutritional deficiencies to diabetes. Here are 20 things that your feet might have been telling you about for so long:

1.       Foot pain

If you don’t wear high-heeled shoes but you still experience foot pain, it is possible that you have a small crack in the bone. This is caused by an intense impact applied on your feet. Maybe you did a high-intensity exercise, or played sports like marathon or football. People with osteoporosis and week bones are more at risk of this condition. 

2.       Numb feet

Do you tend to walk in a way that you are almost dragging your foot? The loss of sensation in the feet is a common symptom of peripheral damage, which is linked to diabetes. About 30% of people who have diabetes suffer from peripheral damage. Nerve damage may also be caused by alcoholism, vitamin deficiency and other health problems. 

3.       Swollen feet

Swollen feet may be caused by intense physical activities or long hours of standing. But, it could also signal a more serious condition. Causes may include kidney problem, poor blood circulation, lymphatic disorder, and blood clot. 

4.       Hairless feet or toes

This signals a problem with your circulatory system. Arteriosclerosis, known as the hardening of the arteries, prevent the heart from pumping in its full capacity, thus, there is not enough supply of blood in the body’s extremities. Another symptom of poor blood circulation is when you stand and your feet turn red and dusky, but when you elevate them, they turn pale.

5.       Clubbed toes

You have clubbed toes when your nails are more rounded on top and curved downward. This may also happen in the fingers. The most common health issue underlying clubbed toes is a lung disease, but it could also be caused by liver, heart and stomach problems, and infections. Sometimes though, clubbing doesn’t mean anything especially if it runs in the family. 

6.       Burning feet

Do your feet feel hot in spite of the cold weather? A burning sensation in the feet is common among diabetic patients suffering from peripheral damage. 

7.       Frequent cramps

Foot cramps are common especially if you’ve been standing or running for a long time. But frequent feet cramps (even if you don’t do any strenuous physical activity) could mean that your body lacks important nutrients such as calcium, potassium and magnesium. 

8.       Pain in the big toe

Gout is the most common cause of pain in the toe. This condition also comes with redness and swelling near the affected area. Other possible causes of pain in the big toe include osteoarthritis and turf toe (usually experienced by athletes who play on hard surfaces).

9.       Pain in smaller toes

This usually happens in the third or fourth toes. If the pain erupts in the ball of your foot and goes all the way to your toes, you may be having Morton’s neuroma – a condition characterised by the thickening of the tissue around the nerves. It is much more common in women than in men and is often caused by too much pressure in the feet.

10.   A swore that won’t heal

This is another symptom of diabetes. The elevated blood sugar levels can lead to nerve damage, leading to the loss of sensation in some parts of the body, usually the feet. If the wound is untreated, it may result to infection, and in worst cases, amputation is needed.

11.   Claw toe

Your feet are clawed when your toes are bent upward then downward in the middle (resembling a claw). This foot deformity may be caused by too much pressure in the toes (usually by using tight shoes), diabetes, alcoholism, or other neurological disorders.

12.   Dark spots

Don’t ignore the dark spots in your feet, even under your nails in the toes as they may be a symptom of melanoma – the most dangerous type of skin cancer. Although this life-threatening disease is usually caused by too much sun or UV exposure, it may affect the areas that are not directly exposed to the sun. 

13.   Cold feet

Does your foot feel cold in spite of the warm weather? Sometimes, this means nothing. But it could be a sign of a thyroid issue. Women over 40 who have cold feet usually suffer from thyroid problems. Thyroid is the gland that regulates metabolism and body temperature.

14.   Yellow toe nails

Thick, yellow toe nails are often caused by fungal infection. But there is also a more serious condition behind it, such as lymphoedema, rheumatoid arthritis and lung disease. 

15.   Spoon-shaped nails

This is a sign that you are deficient in iron. Sometimes, it is also caused by applying too much petroleum-based solvents, or an injury in the nails. 

16.   Pitted toe nails

More than three-fourths of people who have psoriatic arthritis have pocked, pitted nails. Pitting, characterised by punctured-looking depressions in the surface of the nail, happens when the growth of the nail at the nail plate is disrupted. Other symptoms of psoriasis include thick nails and yellow-brown skin patches.

17.   White nails

Injury or the presence of an illness may cause white areas in the nails. If only a portion of the nail is white, it may be due to nail infection or psoriasis. But, it could also be a sign of a more serious health condition such as congestive heart failure, diabetes, or liver disease.

18.   Dry, flaky skin

If you have this condition on your feet, it’s most likely that you have a fungal infection or athlete’s foot. This can be easily treated using anti-fungal cream or powder.

19.   Pain in the heel

Do you experience a shooting pain in the heel which normally starts in the morning and intensifies as the day wears on? This is usually caused by too much pressure on the feet. If you gained weight, fond of wearing flimsy flip-flops, or you always walk barefooted, you are at risk of experiencing this.

20.   Bad smell

This is a total turn-off! But sometimes, it is normal to have smelly feet because our feet have more sweat glands than any part of our body. Add the bacteria, moist and sweat when wearing closed shoes. Experts recommend washing the feet with antibacterial soap, rubbing antiperspirant powder on the sole, and using a fresh pair of socks to avoid smelly feet.


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