When you think about your health, you may not automatically think about your feet. Sure, your feet help you move around easily and they can be of great help to your posture and walking, but did you know that your feet can also tell you a lot about your general health? If not, then do not worry, you are in the majority. Most people do not realize that their feet can hold secrets to their health. If you would like to learn more, then kick off your shoes and socks and keep reading to find out exactly how your feet can be great indicators of your health status.
Hair on your feet and toes may be unsightly, but it is actually a sign of good health. If your feet suddenly go completely bald, then it means that you are beginning to lose circulation in your feet. Hair needs blood and nutrients in order to grow; therefore if your feet suddenly stop growing hair, then they are not receiving enough blood. If you have poor circulation in your feet then you will also notice that they feel cold often and it may be difficult to find a pulse near your ankle.
Frequent Cramps in Your Feet
If your feet cramp up a lot, then you may be dehydrated or may be nutrient deficient. Frequent foot cramps can be due to your body being dehydrated after an intense workout or after you have been working a lot in hot temperatures. Certain nutrient deficiencies such as potassium, calcium and magnesium can also cause major foot cramps (and other muscle cramps). These nutrients are essential for your muscles to contract and relax, and if you are deficient, then your muscles could begin cramping up. With your doctor’s permission you can begin to take supplements and soaking your feet in warm water to relieve foot cramps. Also, make sure that you are drinking enough water per day. Dehydration can lead to many more health issues.
Sores that Will Not Heal
Stubborn and unruly sores on your feet can be gruesome. If you are a diabetic, then having a sore on your foot is an immediate red flag and should be discussed with your doctor. However, if you are not diabetic, then sores on your feet can still be an issue. They can be a sign of cancer, poor circulation or a weakened immune system. If you have a sore that has been on your foot for a few weeks to months, its best to get it checked out by your doctor.
Are your feet always cold? If the answer is yes, then you may have hypothyroidism. This disease occurs in many people, especially women, and is classified by your thyroid slowing down. Your thyroid produces many hormones and chemicals that are necessary for your metabolism. If it suddenly slows down, then your metabolism will slow as well, you will feel sluggish often, and will be cold all of the time. Talk to your doctor about cold feet, especially if you have any of the other symptoms of hypothyroidism, and you can be diagnosed with a simple blood test.
Enlarged Big Toe
If you suddenly notice that your big toe has become swollen you may be suffering from gout. Sudden onsets of red, swollen joints in your feet, especially around your big toe are indicative of gout, an inflammatory disorder. If the joints in your feet begin to hurt and swell, then you could also be dealing with an infection in your feet or another type of arthritis.
Numbing in Your Feet
If your feet constantly go numb, then you may be dealing with peripheral neuropathy or have a pinched nerve. Peripheral neuropathy is a common side effect of diabetes, chemotherapy and alcoholism. It will affect both feet. If you are only feeling numbness in one foot then you may have a pinched nerve from some sort of trauma. Speak with your doctor, and you may be able to find some relief through treatment plans.
Athlete’s foot is the main reason that your feet could be peeling. Most people think that if they are not athletes or if they have never stepped foot into a locker room than they are immune from athlete’s foot. This is completely wrong; anyone can contract the fungal disease at any time. Peeling, itchy skin on your feet is indicative of the fungus and needs to be treated with anti-fungal cream. If you have been tested for fungus on your feet and confirmed as fungus-free, then you may have eczema or psoriasis on your feet.
Yellowing of Your Toenails
Another common symptom of athlete’s foot is yellow toenails. If your toenails have taken on a yellow hue and have become brittle, then it is likely you have a fungus infection. Talk to your doctor about it, and you will need an anti-fungal cream to eradicate the fungi from your feet.
If you are experiencing sharp, knife-like pains in your heels whenever you stand on your feet, then you probably have a health issue with your ligament that is supporting your arch. This often arises in people who wear extremely tight shoes or who walk in flip flops a lot. To combat this problem, it is essential to visit a podiatrist and begin wearing proper shoes. A podiatrist can give you a few stretches and exercises to do each day in order to strengthen the ligament. Plus, you will probably receive advice on wearing proper shoes all of the time so that you do not injure your feet anymore.
Your feet can truly tell you a lot about your health. The next time you are sitting on the couch, take a peek at your feet and see if you feel or see any of the above symptoms. If you do have some of the symptoms mentioned above, then talk with your doctor. With a few simple treatments your feet can go back to feeling and looking great, and your health problem can be nipped in the bud.
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