Foot Problems – An Early Warning System

Foot problems can often be an early warning of other health problems, not necessarily related to your feet. Often symptoms of other conditions show up in your feet before you are aware of them, sometimes even indicating conditions that you would not become aware of until they are much further advanced and more difficult to treat.

Marks on Your Toenails

Most times when you spot a mark on your toenail it will be as the result of some damage to the nail, maybe you tripped or stubbed your toe causing some slight bleeding of the nail bed. In most cases this is nothing to worry about as you know the cause and it will naturally heal. Severe trauma might lead to the loss of a toenail if a large amount of blood gathers under the nail and can be quite painful. This needs to be examined by your Podiatrist or Medical Practitioner to ensure there is no permanent damage to the nail bed together with any treatment to aid speedy healing.

However dark brown or brownish black vertical stripes appear on the nail which can be caused by Melanonychia – the darker your skin tone the more likely the stripes are likely to show. These can be an indicator of more serious injury to the toe or underlying illness. Dark stripes can also be an indicator of Melanoma or Morton’s Neuroma, both of which are serous conditions. You should immediately consult your Podiatrist or Medical Practitioner if you see any signs of dark stripes in your toenails.

Swollen Feet and Ankles

Most people have somewhat swollen feet and ankles by the end of the day, especially if you have been on your feet all day or it is warm. However if this does not go down fairly rapidly when you are resting or if you notice a dramatic change in the size of your feet you should get it checked out. Swollen feet can be an indicator of poor lymphatic drainage or a heart condition.
Lymphoedema, swelling of the tissue in the body can be an early warning sign that your body is retaining fluid. This can be caused by several things and is often easily treated. If a dimple remains after you press on the swollen area you should get it checked out quickly, ‘pit oedema’ should never be neglected.

Cold Feet

Most of the time cold feet are simply that, you need to wear a warmer foot coverings. However if you develop red itchy swellings you may have chilblains – a condition that is on the rise due to the reduction in heating in many homes because of the recent fuel price rises.

Less likely is poor circulation due to underlying problems such a heart conditions or diabetes. If wearing warmer socks, slippers or shoes doesn’t help and if your feet are cold when waking in the morning, it would be advisable to speak to your Podiatrist or medical practitioner for a quick check up.

Poor Healing

The single most common cause of lower leg / foot amputations is Diabetes. If you have slow healing foot injuries you must get them checked out as soon a possible. Other symptoms are feeling more thirsty, tired, or hungry than usual. Diabetic neuropathy, damage to the nervous system, is a common side effect particularly with Type 2 Diabetes. Any foot injury which does not heal as quickly as normal must be checked out as soon as you notice it.

Claw or Retracted Toes

The most common cause of claw toes is poorly fitting footwear which cause you to grip excessively with your toes. A sudden change in the shape of your toes can be caused by an undiagnosed stroke or poorly controlled diabetes. If you notice a change in your foot or toe shape you should consult your Podiatrist or Medical Practitioner – if it is a case of damage caused by poorly fitting shoes then there are treatments which can help reverse the damage.

Thickening Toenails

As we get older our feet are more prone to fungal infections. This type of infections thrives in warm slightly damp conditions, given that feet have more than 200,00 sweat glands they provide the perfect environment. The most common is Athletes Foot, itchy flaky skin especially between the toes. A toenail infection usually results in thickening and yellowing of the toenails with occasionally crumbling. Fungal infections are easily treated by your Podiatrist.

Whilst most of the time foot problems are simply that – an issue with your feet that can easily be treated, occasionally they are an indicator of more serious issues. If you have any concerns at all you should see your Podiatrist or Medical Practitioner as soon as you can to ensure your continues good health and wellbeing.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 0 comments