5 Things Your Feet Are Telling You About Your Health Hindi Urdu Asad Health Tips
5 Things Your Feet Are Telling You About Your Health
1. Dry, Flaking Skin
If the skin around your heel or on the ball of your foot is dry, cracked, or flaky, it may be a warning sign of a thyroid condition. Your thyroid gland produces hormones that control your metabolic rate, blood pressure, tissue growth, and nervous system functions. Dry skin can signify a problem with your thyroid.
Obviously, dry skin can also be the result of many less serious health issues, and sometimes your skin dries out simply because of changes in the weather. But if you notice that the skin on your feet is dry, and you also have symptoms like weight gain, numbness in your hands, or vision problems, set up an appointment with your doctor.
2. Balding Toes
While toe hair is more common and visible in men, women generally have fine hairs on their toes as well. If you notice that your toes are losing a little bit of hair, or if they've gone completely bald, it could be a sign of poor blood flow. One cause of insufficient blood supply to the feet and toes is peripheral arterial disease, or PAD for short.
When plaque builds up in the arteries of your legs, blood flow can be restricted and PAD can set in. If left untreated, PAD could lead to a heart attack or stroke, or even put you at risk for amputation.
If you suspect PAD, see a doctor. You can combat symptoms of PAD by giving up smoking, maintaining a balanced diet, getting regular exercise, and managing other health conditions, like hypertension or diabetes, that can contribute to the condition. If you already have it, try these foot care tips.
3. Foot Numbness
Like toe baldness, foot numbness due to a lack of blood flow in the area can be a sign of PAD. You've probably experienced numbness in your feet if you sat in one position for too long, or if you fell asleep at an awkward angle. But if it happens regularly or while you're active, it’s a problem you shouldn't ignore.
Foot numbness is also one of the more common symptoms of peripheral neuropathy related to type 2 diabetes, which affects millions of people. Diabetes complicates blood flow to your feet, which means wounds or cuts may take a longer time to heal, leaving you susceptible to infection.
If you have irregular bouts of foot numbness, and wounds on your feet just don't seem to heal, talk to a doctor. To promote healthy blood flow and help prevent type 2 diabetes, be sure to get regular exercise and reach for healthy foods.
4. Black Spots or Lines Under Your Toenails
When someone steps on your toes or you drop a heavy object onto your foot, you’ll most likely have some toenail discoloration. Dark discoloration under your toenail isn't typically concerning if you know what caused it.
But if you notice discoloration — or black and brown lines — under a toenail and you don't remember injuring your toe, you might want to talk to your doctor. Dark, vertical lines under a toenail could be a sign of a hidden melanoma. We’re getting better at fighting cancer every day, but hidden melanomas often go overlooked and untreated.
Toenail discoloration could also be caused by a fungal infection, and while that's much less severe than a potential cancer diagnosis, you should not ignore it. My advice is to check your toenails for discoloration every time you cut your nails.
5. Morning Foot Pain
A number of patients have asked me why they experience foot pain in the morning. Burning or shooting foot pain that happens when you take your first few steps out of bed can indicate of a number of potential issues.
First, it could be a sign of rheumatoidarthritis, which inflames your joints and can cause pain even in the small joints of your feet. You can control foot pain and other of rheumatoid arthritis symptoms with medication and regular exercise; ask your doctor about this if you haven’t already.
It's also possible that your morning foot pain is caused by plantar fasciitis, a condition caused by inflammation in the thick band of tissue that connects your heel to your toes; the band remains in a contracted state while you sleep. When you take your first steps of the day, the tissues stretch. If you’re dealing with inflammation, you’ll notice pain. Stretching your feet before you get out of bed, or doing foot-strengthening exercises, can help prevent the onset of plantar fasciitis.
Lastly, morning foot pain could be caused by a muscle cramp. As with plantar faciitis, you can avoid foot cramps by stretching your foot muscles before you get out of bed.
But cramps may also be a sign of dehydration or a lack of certain nutrients in your diet.
Cramps mean your body isn't getting enough calcium, potassium, and magnesium. You can help prevent morning foot cramps by eating a balanced diet and drinking water before heading to bed.
Lance Silverman, MD, is a Minnesota orthopedic surgeon who specializes in the treatment of foot and ankle conditions. He also blogs about foot conditions, high-profile foot injuries, and general health news.
Top photo: Natthawon Chaosakun/Shutterstock
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