Your feet are one of the first things people notice about you when you enter a room. If they’re not up to par, there’s no way your shoes will make up the difference. Look your best by making sure your feet are in good health and that nothing abnormal lurks underneath your toes. Follow this guide to learn how to examine your feet and figure out if anything could be wrong with them. The better you care for them now, the longer they’ll stay attractive, strong and healthy later on!
FLAKY, DRY FEET
Thyroid issues, particularly if moisturiser is ineffective. The thyroid gland, which is the butterfly-shaped gland at the base of your neck, malfunctions when it produces thyroid hormones improperly, which regulate your metabolism, blood pressure, tissue growth, and the growth of your skeletal and neural systems. According to Marlene Reid, DPM, a foot specialist at Family Podiatry Center in Naperville, Illinois, “thyroid issues cause extreme dryness of the skin.” “We typically refer patients to their main doctor to make sure their thyroids are in good shape when we detect cracking on the foot or if moisturiser doesn’t relieve dryness over a few days.” Brittle toenails may also indicate thyroid issues.
Arterial disease could be the cause. If the fuzz on your toes suddenly disappears, it can indicate peripheral artery disease, which causes impaired blood circulation (PAD). Purplish toes, reduced hair development on the feet and ankles, and thin or glossy skin are all indications of PAD, according to Suzanne Fuchs, DPM, a podiatrist in private practise at Luxe Podiatry in Palm Beach, Florida.
The CDC estimates that 6.5 million Americans over 40 have PAD. Doctors can check for a normal pulse in the foot even though symptoms are mild since it is caused by a buildup of fatty plaque in the arteries. In serious cases, an X-ray may reveal PAD. According to Gary A. Pichney, DPM, a podiatric surgeon in Baltimore, Maryland, “if I take an X-ray of a broken foot and I detect a hardening of the arteries, the same thing is happening in the heart blood vessels 99% of the time.”
Diabetes may be the cause. Uncontrolled glucose levels can harm neurons and impair circulation, preventing blood flow to the feet and other parts of the body. It is possible for diabetes blisters and ulcers to form when blood doesn’t reach a wound that was brought on, say, by irritated shoes. According to Reid, “many, many persons with diabetes are first identified because of foot difficulties.” Constant tingling or numbness in the feet is another indication of diabetes. A blood sugar test may be recommended by your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms.
PAINFUL BIG TOE
Gout may be the cause. gorged on meat and wine? Gout, a form of arthritis that frequently affects the big toe joint, could be the painful aftereffect. Foods strong in purine, a substance found in fish, red meat, and some alcoholic beverages, can cause an attack by increasing the body’s uric acid levels. Although uric acid is typically eliminated through the urine, some people create too much or too little of it. The big toe or the ankle are typically where you’ll notice uric acid accumulation, according to Bob Baravarian, DPM, a foot and ankle expert at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California. “The patient will awaken with a stiff, flaming, and sore joint. It hurts awfully bad.
LITTLE RED SPOTS UNDER THUMB NAIL
One possibility is a heart infection. Red streaks under the fingernails or toenails may represent splinter haemorrhages, which are damaged blood vessels. Splinter haemorrhages can be brought on by psoriasis, a fungal infection, or even simple trauma to the nail, but they can also be an indication of endocarditis, an infection of the inner lining of the heart, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians. (Remember that this condition is uncommon.)
According to the American Cardiac Association, people who already have a heart problem are more likely to get endocarditis. If the infection is not treated, cardiac failure may follow. Visit your doctor to have your heart and blood circulation checked if you detect splinter haemorrhages on your toenails or fingernails and you haven’t recently had any trauma to the nail.
Heart disease or lung cancer are two possibilities. According to Mount Sinai’s Health Library, clubbing, a different symptom that affects both toes and fingers, is frequently linked to lung cancer, chronic lung infection, or heart issues brought on by birth defects or infections of the lining of the heart valves and chambers. Due to the reduced blood oxygen levels in these circumstances, clubbing frequently happens. The tissue swells, giving the fingers and toes their “clubbed” appearance—rounder and wider. (Specifically, this is how swollen feet are brought on by heart failure.) The best course of action is to get evaluated if you see any anomalies, even if patients are often aware that the condition that is causing the clubbing is theirs.
PITTED TOE NAILS
Possibility: Psoriasis. You might have nail psoriasis if you see any tiny holes, grooves, or ridges in your toenails. 5% of persons with nail psoriasis are unaffected elsewhere, despite the fact that the majority of those who have it also have skin psoriasis, an inflammatory condition that causes skin to become patchy and inflamed. If you have small pits in your toenails but have never received a psoriasis diagnosis, you should have them examined, advises Pichney. White spots and lines across the nails are two additional signs. Your doctor might suggest topical creams or cortisone injected under the nail to cure psoriasis.
Lupus or anaemia are possible causes. Do you have a toenail depression deep enough to contain a drop of water? According to research, spoon-shaped toenails or fingernails, also known as koilonychias, are most frequently related to an iron shortage but can also result from starvation, thyroid conditions, or injuries. Infants occasionally develop spooned nails, but they become common in the first several years of life. Contact your doctor if you observe spooning so they can order a blood test to determine the precise cause.
STRAIGHT LINE UNDER TOE NAIL
Skin cancer may be the cause. Acral lentiginous melanoma, also known as hidden melanoma, is a type of skin cancer that can develop on inconspicuous body parts and manifests as a black, vertical line underneath a toenail. (Other concealed melanomas include mouth and eye melanomas.) According to Pichney, there will be a black line running from the nail’s base to its tip. “A dermatologist or podiatrist should examine it. You want to rule out cancer, but it could be a fungus, which typically affects the entire nail and is yellow-brown and erratic. What else can cause a black toenail? Find out here, along with some remedies.
SUDDENLY HIGH ARCH
According to Pichney, “most high-arched feet are accompanied by some sort of underlying neuromuscular problem.” It may be a sign of Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT) if someone complains of the muscles supporting their foot’s arch thinning. CMT is a hereditary illness that affects peripheral nerves, or those that are not connected to the brain or spinal cord. It can affect gait, create numbness in the feet, make it difficult to balance, cause muscle loss in the lower legs, and subsequently produce symptoms in the arms and hands. If you find any anomalies, consult your doctor. See your podiatrist right away if anything about your foot changes or differs, advises Reid.