Your feet do a lot for you. After all they’re the foundation for your body. They get you where you want to go. But how often do you really look at your feet? Every day? Some times? Only when they hurt? You really need to take a closer look at your feet, because foot signs can signal a serious medical condition you may not even be aware that you have.
Here are some telltale signs that you may have something more serious, like peripheral arterial disease, rheumatoid arthritis, or more, affecting you:
- Calf muscle cramps. This could be a sign that you have peripheral arterial disease, also known as PAD. With this condition, plaque builds up in the arteries of your legs, which reduces blood flow to your lower legs and feet. You may experience calf muscle cramps when you move around.
- Decreased hair growth on your feet and ankles. Another sign of PAD, which affects about 8 million Americans.
- Purplish toes. Another PAD sign due to hardening of the arteries.
- Toe, foot and/or ankle joint pain. This may signal rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disorder that causes your immune system to mistakenly attack your joints, making them painful, red and/or swollen. This disease affects 1.3 million Americans with 90% of sufferers developing symptoms in their feet and ankles.
- Numbness or tingling in your feet. Diabetes causes the blood sugar in your body to build up in your blood. This excess sugar can cause nerve and blood vessel damage, leading to a loss of sensation and decreased blood flow.
Slow healing foot wounds. You may have PAD or diabetes. Foot wounds that don’t heal are a serious issue for people with diabetes. These ulcers can lead to a serious infection that may require your toe, foot or leg to be amputated.
- Tiny red streaks under the toenails. You may have endocarditis, an infection of the heart’s inner lining. Tiny red lines that appear under the toenails may be broken blood vessels, known as splinter hemorrhages, due to small blood clots damaging the capillaries under your nails.
- Clubbed toes. Lung cancer, chronic lung infection, heart disease or intestinal disease can cause the toes to appear clubbed. When blood flow to the small arteries in your toes increases, the tissues swells causing your toes to appear rounder and wider.
- Dry, flaky or cracking feet. If your feet are still dry, flaky and/or cracking after applying moisturizer for a few days, you may have a problem with your thyroid. When your thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough hormones, it can cause severe skin dryness.
- Red, swollen, painful big toe. When your body accumulates too much uric acid and deposits it in the joints – especially in the big toe, you have gout. Gout attacks can be triggered by eating foods high in purine, a chemical compound found in red meats, fish and certain alcoholic beverages.
- High foot arch. You may have nerve damage – more specially, you may have Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT). This inherited disorder damages the peripheral nerves, causing gait changes, foot numbness and balance problems.
- Spooned toenails. If you have a depression in your toenail that’s deep enough to hold a water droplet, you may have anemia (an iron deficiency), Raynaud’s disease (decreased blood supply to toes) or lupus (an autoimmune disease that causes your body’s immune system to attack your cells, tissues and organs).
Yes, a long day on your feet can cause them to ache and feel tired. However, if you notice any of the signs above or any other unusual symptom, you should see your primary care doctor or a podiatrist for a proper diagnosis. Your doctor can provide treatment recommendations to lessen any of your symptoms as well as pain and discomfort.
Don’t let a minor foot problem go! It could become a major health issue over time.
ezWalker® Custom Orthotics for Foot Pain Relief
If you’re experiencing reoccurring foot pain, you know how painful it can be to stand or walk. But pain relief may be possible with the use of custom foot orthotics like ezWalker® Custom Fit Orthotics. ezWalker® Custom Orthotics support your feet while realigning them and redistributing your weight across your feet. They work to affect your gait by subtly altering the activity of your muscles while reducing stress on your lower extremities. ezWalker® Custom Orthotics can provide pain relief for people of all ages who suffer from foot ailments caused by diabetes, arthritis, and walking imbalances caused from flat feet or high arches.
Visit the WalkEZStore to learn more about our foot orthotic devices. ezWalker® Custom Orthotics are designed exclusively for your feet and the way you walk to improve function while decreasing foot pain. To order your pair of ezWalker® Custom Fit Orthotics, click here.
Because … when your feet feel good, you feel good.®
To learn more about the proper function and biomechanics of your feet, get your FREE copy of our ebook, “10 Things Your Feet Are Desperately Trying to Tell You,” by clicking this link.
Disclaimer: The information included in this article is for educational purposes only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Cover photo credit: 12RF / nebari