What your Feet Say About your Overall Health

Your eyes may be the windows to your soul, but your feet have plenty to say about your overall health. They are home to one-quarter of your body’s bones and each one of them has 33 joints and 100 tendons, muscles and ligaments. They also have numerous blood vessels and nerves which are linked to your brain, spine and heart. Don’t ignore changes in the appearance of your feet or the way they feel; they may be telling you something important about your health.

What your Feet Say About your Overall Health

  • Foot Pain

You should not simply assume that foot pain is from wearing high-heeled shoes or ones that simply don’t fit properly. These types of footwear may make existing foot conditions like bunions, ingrown toenails and hammertoes worse.

Postmenopausal women are at higher risk for osteoporosis, which can cause stress fractures. The pain in your foot may be due to a small crack in the bone and should be evaluated by a health care professional.

  • Swollen Feet

Swollen feet can be a temporary symptom of sitting or standing too long. It is a common symptom for pregnant women and is usually not concerning. When swelling of the feet and legs persists, it can be a sign of congestive heart failure or poor blood circulation. It can also be caused by an infection, thyroid or kidney disorder, or a blood clot in the leg. See your doctor if you have swollen feet that does not go away.

  • Foot Spasms

Sudden pain in the foot that causes your toes to spread out or contract may be due to a foot spasm. They can be cause by several conditions, including fatigue and overuse of the foot muscle, dehydration or a vitamin D, calcium or potassium deficiency. Pregnant women may be susceptible to foot spasms, due to hormonal changes. Staying hydrated and wearing proper shoes can help to lower the risk of this condition. Strengthening the foot muscles by walking barefoot on sand or grass may also help.

  • Spoon-shaped Toenails

There may be many reasons why your nails curve up at the tips (Koilonychia). You may have iron-deficiency anemia or have been exposed to certain industrial chemicals or solvents. Some systemic diseases, such as lupus and Raynaud’s disease can also cause this symptom.

Examine your feet regularly, and if you have any questions or concerns, contact Toronto podiatrist Sheldon H. Nadal D.P.M. for a personal consultation.