Your Feet and Your Health
by David Modica
Just in time for strappy sandal season, a recent article by The Active Times suggests that your feet can tell you a lot about what’s going on with the rest of your body. Learn what to look for, and they can be a valuable way to evaluate your wellness.
“Although often overlooked, your feet can provide an excellent warning of potential health concerns,” said Dr. Peter Chioros, a board-certified podiatrist with Swedish Covenant Medical Group. “Sudden changes or chronic symptoms such as pain or inflammation can signal illnesses and other potentially harmful conditions.”
Let’s take a look at…
1. Big toe swollen at the base
If your big toe is painful and swollen at its base, it could be a type of arthritis called gout, and it may be due to your diet. An excess of fish, red meat and alcohol can all contribute to the development of this condition.
2. Exceptionally and regularly swollen/round toes
Warrant a doctor visit. It could be a symptom of reduced blood flow to the small arteries in the toenails, signaling lung cancer, heart disease or an intestinal illness. Early testing for these serious conditions can lead to a higher treatment success rate.
1. Cold feet that won’t quit
Unwarranted and frequent cold feet may be signaling a problem with your thyroid. When thyroid conditions affect your metabolism, they may also affect how well you’re able to get warm and stay warm.
2. Constant tingling or numbness
If your feet keep “falling asleep,” you might have diabetes, which can sometimes cause an important nerve in your foot to fail to function properly due to elevated sugar levels. Open sores, cuts or injuries that refuse or take long to heal can also be a symptom, and should be examined by a podiatrist right away.
1. Swollen ankles
Swollen ankles may be caused by your kidneys, which can make your body retain fluid in your feet and hands. This is a signal that they’re failing to function properly, and that the nutrients you consume are not being properly processed.
2. Spraining an ankle more often than you would like.
Isn’t your fault. You might just be predisposed to injuries in your ankles, which means you need to take extra care when being active, and should always wear high-quality or customized shoes.
Care for Your Feet
“There are a few simple ways to ensure that your feet remain healthy,” said Dr. Chioros. “What little effort it takes is worth it in the long run; by checking your feet regularly and practicing good hygiene, they can better notify you of potential wellness concerns.”
To best evaluate the health of your feet, it’s essential that you care for them properly. Here are three simple habits you should adopt today:
1. Clean your feet well with a warm washrag. Use gentle soap, and take care to get between the toes and under the nails.
2. Dry your feet thoroughly to prevent any bacteria from growing.
3. Moisturize your feet often. Especially in cold weather or after visiting a beach.
To schedule an appointment with Peter Chioros, D.P.M., FACFAS, please call 773-878-6888.