What Your Feet can Tell You

Foot Conditions can often be an early warning of more serious health problems and should never be neglected.

Many foot conditions are not that serious but things such as discoloured toenails, sore or painful areas, swelling or persistent cracking could be signs of something more serious.

Cold Feet

We often joke about about cold feet, for some people even when they have warm footwear their feet are still cold. For example Diabetes can change the how the nerves function and impact on the blood flow to your feet.

Chilblains are nothing like as common as they were but they do happen and can be incredibly painful with patches of itchy, swollen and red skin. They can become infected if not treated with care.

Cracked, Dry or Flaky Skin

If you have dry, cracked or flaky skin on your feet and no amount of creams or moisturisers helps it could be a thickening of the skin – hyperkeratosis – which needs some specialist help. The layers of skin lose their elasticity and will continue to flake and may even thicken up more.

Conditions such as Athlete’s Foot, Eczema, Psoriasis, Dermatitis or Keratoderma, a marked thickening of the skin, can also cause skin damage and need to be treated swiftly to prevent it getting worse.


Sores can be caused by a number of different things, it could be relatively simple such as a Verruca or Plantar Wart that is bleeding and won’t heal. There are also some conditions such as anaemia which can cause sores.

Some smokers are prone to small yellow pustules, palmoplantar pustular psoriasis, which can erupt and become infected.

Again Diabetes can be a culprit as healing is difficult. Such sores should never be neglected, diabetes is the most common cause of below the knee amputations.

Swollen Sore Feet

Sore and swollen feet can be the result of something as simple as poorly fitting shoes but equally it could be the result of an injury you may not have noticed.

Chronic swelling or Oedema can be an indicator of heart problems or other circulatory issues and should always be checked especially if the swelling ‘pits’ when you press it (the skin does not come back to its previous place but form a dip).

Discoloured Toenails

The colour of your toenails is an indicator of several possible conditions. Yellowing toenails can be the result of overuse of nail polish without allowing the nails to have a breathing time. However it can also be an indicator of a fungal infection which can be difficult to get rid of.

Psoriasis and Eczema can also cause yellow nails and in some rare cases it can be Yellow Nail Syndrome which also causes swelling and fluid retention.

If you have damaged your foot that can also cause discoloured toenails but you are usually aware of the cause – for example there may be some bleeding and bruising if your foot has been trodden on or bruised.

Dark lines under the toenails should never be ignored as they can suggest more serious health issues such as Melanoma.


Cramp in your feet is painful and is generally the result of poor blood flow to the feet or lower leg and generally if you move around it will go, however it can be an indicator of low magnesium levels. You should consult your medical practitioner before taking or using any supplementary sources of magnesium.

If you have any problems with your feet contact your local Podiatrist who will be able to advise you on the best course of action.

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