Posted January 17, 2014
Your feet provide the foundational support for your height and weight, and they can say a lot about your health.
Feet: A complex network of bones, ligaments, tendons and muscles
According to the American Podiatric Medical Association, the feet contain one-fourth of the body’s bones. Each foot has 26 bones, more than 100 tendons, muscles and ligaments and innumerable blood vessels and nerves that link to the brain, spine and heart.
Health warning messages from your feet
Medical professionals have identified 18 potentially serious health concerns that your feet communicate. In this article we will review the first nine:
- Feet or toes without hair – This is a potential sign of poor circulation, possibly caused by vascular disease, such as hardening of the arteries, called arteriosclerosis; with this condition the heart isn’t able to pump enough blood throughout the body, especially to the feet, creating circulation issues and affecting the growth of hair on the feet
- Spoon-shaped indentations in toenails – Medical professionals report this may be a sign of iron deficiency, called anemia
- Frequent foot cramping – Often called a “charley horse,” frequent foot cramping may indicate low levels of calcium, potassium or magnesium
- Sores that don’t heal – Cuts and sores on the bottom of the foot that don’t heal may be an indication of diabetes; if left untreated, infection can set in and eventually may require amputation
- Cold feet – Many women complain of having cold feet, but for those over age 40, this may be a sign of thyroid issues
- Yellow, thick, gnarly toenails – Often this is a sign of a fungal infection under the surface of the nail
- Sudden emergence of an enlarged big toe – A possible sign of gout, which is a form of arthritis, usually caused by too much uric acid, a natural substance in the body; people with high levels of uric acid may be at greater risk for developing diabetes
- Numbness – A sensation of pins-and-needles or a lack of feeling in your feet may be a sign of peripheral neuropathy; while currently there is not a cure for this problem, there are several medications available that help alleviate some of the symptoms
- Soreness in toe joints – This may be a sign of rheumatoid arthritis, a degenerative joint disease; people diagnosed with the disease often first notice pain in the joints of the toes and hands
Don’t forget to read part two of this blog series (coming soon) featuring the other nine messages your feet communicate about your health.
To learn more, review this article provided by WebMD, “What Your Feet Say About Your Health.”