Your feet are the major foundation for your body. And, just like your home, it is important to monitor for unhealthy changes in this foundation. It may surprise you to know that one-fourth of all of the body’s bones are in the foot. The foot also has 33 joints; 100 tendons, muscles and ligaments as well as nerves and blood vessels traveling literally from head to toe! Unhealthy feet can provide clues about other health issues that should be addressed by a healthcare professional.
Sunken, spoon-shaped indentations may relate to iron-deficiency anemia.
Deep or shallow-pitted toenails may be an indication of psoriasis.
Pocked, pitted nails (that have the appearance of nail holes) can be a symptom of psoriatic arthritis. a disorder affecting the joints and the skin.
Thick, yellow toenails may indicate a fungal infection
Temperature and Appearance of Feet
Cold feet may be a symptom of a thyroid issue or poor circulation
Dropped foot can indicate muscle or nerve damage that can actually originate from the back, shoulder or neck
Patriotic-colored toes in cold weather may relate to Raynaud’s Syndrome which involves vasospasms of the blood vessels.
A suddenly enlarged, scary-looking toe is a primary indicator of gouty arthritis which is caused by too much uric acid.
Hairless feet or toes may be a symptom of poor circulation caused by vascular disease.
Dry, flaky skin can indicate a fungal infection and can lead to inflammation and blisters.
A sore that won’t heal on the bottom of the foot should be assessed by a physician and is an indicator of diabetes.
Foot discomfort and pain
Frequent foot cramping may mean a lack of calcium, potassium, or magnesium.
Numbness in both feet, unable to “feel” your feet can be an indicator of neuropathy and peripheral nerve damage.
The sensation of pins and needles can be a symptom of neuropathy and peripheral nerve damage.
A sore toe joint may be a symptom of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), a degenerative joint disease.
Painful feet when walking requires an evaluation for undiagnosed foot fractures. This may also signify underlying problem of osteopenia, malnutrition, a vitamin deficiency, anorexia, or a calcium absorption problem.
A shooting pain in the heel may relate to abnormal tissue straining, connective tissue inflammation.
Although smelly feet may be problematic in social settings, it is rarely significant to foot health. The feet contain more sweat glands than any other part of the body; therefore, it is more likely that foot odor will occur when combined with shoes and socks.
It is important to have proper footwear. Shoes should not be more than 2 years old as they will lack the ability to support the feet as needed. If you experience blisters, then it is likely that your shoes are too tight; bunions, too narrow; and heel pain, not enough foot support
Healthy feet really are happy feet! If your feet aren’t lookin’ good and feelin’ good, then you should make an appointment with your physician or a podiatrist (foot specialist).
There are many supportive resources available for persons with healthcare needs. A senior care manager can assist family members and long-distance caregivers navigate the many aspects of caring for aging loved ones. Senior Care Management Services are available through Touchpoint Senior Services, a division of Community Home Health Services. Please call: 317-621-4664 or toll-free at 877-621-4660 or visit our website at eCommunity.com/seniorcare.
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