The human body is amazing. It self-heals, it has so many cool functions, and the outside can indicate what’s happening on the inside.
Our feet can provide pointers about the state of our health and give us signs that we may have an underlying condition.
Our shoes can be informative, too
The wear and tear on our shoes can show imbalances in our gait, which can indicate possible problems elsewhere in the body.
When you get a moment, on a day that you’re wearing well-worn shoes/trainers with a decently sized sole, take off your shoes and look at them carefully. Is one sole flatter/worn down more than the other, i.e. is the erosion of your shoes’ treads even?
The direction of the wear and tear on your sole is indicative of the way you walk. Maybe you have a slight limp you were unaware of; this could be demonstrated by more wear on the shoe of your ‘good’ foot, as it clearly bears more of your weight when making contact with the floor than the other. The pattern you see on the soles will be a measure of the pressure your body puts on your feet as you walk.
If there are signs of an imbalance, it could be that your joints are out of kilter, or that you subconsciously shift your weight to one side, perhaps due to some on/off pain that (at the moment) is too slight for you to do anything about it. Without action, however, this could become much more painful an issue.
There are a few conditions that could arise from ill-fitting or uncomfortable shoes. We talked in a previous post about how the constant wearing of high heels could result in bunions, due to the way heels force the foot forward and increase pressure on the big toe.
Signs from our feet
If you’re someone whose extremities always seem to be red/white and they constantly feel cold, you likely have a circulation problem. Cold fingers and toes (sometimes, a cold nose too) can highlight blood flow issues. Some conditions can be synonymous with poor circulation—diabetes is one, as are failings/diseases of the arteries, which are responsible for pushing the blood from your heart and into your veins.
The opposite can also be true, i.e. circulatory conditions and diabetes, for example, can cause a hot sensation in your toes, due to inflammation.
Bruising under the toenail can indicate a melanoma, if you haven’t suffered any damage or trauma to the nail/foot that can account for the mark. This can simply appear as a dark line under the nail; if you see something like this, get it checked as soon as possible, as it could indicate skin cancer.
Pins and needles
If you find your toes tingling for no apparent reason, this could again be the sign of an underlying condition. It could be connected to your nerves and neurological issues. Diabetes can also be the cause behind it. As mentioned, consult your GP to be on the safe side.
Not so swell
Inflammation of your feet and/or toes can occur due to something simple, like a reaction to warm weather, if you’re pregnant or if you’ve been on your feet for a long time. However, in some cases, swelling might occur when none of these reasons could be responsible.
Arthritis, cellulitis or deep vein thrombosis could be to blame; for all of these, you should seek medical advice. Gout could also be an explanation, particularly if the joint of the big toe is swollen. Swelling of the feet could also signify heart disease; never ignore what your feet tell you.
You know your body better than anyone, and if something doesn’t look or feel right, don’t hesitate to get it checked. Doctors would far rather rule out the possibility of something serious than not be consulted at all, resulting in a potentially serious condition being left to grow and develop.
If you’d like a professional opinion about the health of your feet (and other conditions they may be pointing to), make an appointment with the team at Treat Your Feet. Whilst we’re not GPs, we are qualified podiatrists and have a wide knowledge of feet and toes and the common signs they can sometimes give. Call 01226 492412 (Wombwell) or 0113 238 0330 (Morley).