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4 Foot Problems You Shouldn’t Ignore

foot pain tipsHave you felt a sudden change in the the condition of your feet lately? Foot problems can indicate bigger health issues elsewhere in your body. In fact, the feet are one of the first areas to show signs of serious medical conditions such as diabetes or heart disease. Here are four foot problems you should look for and what they may mean.

1. Pain

Whether you’re experiencing sudden or prolonged pain, it is worth seeing your doctor or podiatrist to confirm that the pain is not the result of a larger medical issue. Foot pain can signal anything from a fracture to arthritis to plantar fasciitis.

What to watch for

A typical cause of sudden pain in the big toe joint is gout, a form of arthritis. People who experience heel pain in the morning after getting up that lessens throughout the day may suffer from plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the foot tissue that runs from the heel to the ball of the foot.

Does your pain worsen throughout the day? Frequent pain may signal a fracture or a small crack in the bone. This pain will recede when you put the foot at rest and worsen when you put weight on it. Fractures are commonly caused by overactivity or changes in exercise.

2. Itchy skin

A common cause of itchiness and peeling in the feet is fungal infection, also known as athlete’s foot.

What to watch for

Athlete’s foot is a scaly rash that usually begins between the toes and appears on the sides and bottoms of the foot. People with athlete’s foot can also have itchy and burning cracks between the toes.It

commonly affects people with sweaty feet that are confined in tight-fitting shoes. Athlete’s foot can be treated with antifungal cream to prevent fungal toenails, an infection that can be tougher to treat as we age.

3. Numbness

Numbness (also known as peripheral neuropathy) can be a sign of several distinct health problems from diabetes to chronic alcoholism.

What to watch for

Loss of sensation in both feet is a common sign of diabetes. Diabetes affects circulation and blood supply, and numbness can arise as a side effect of the disease.

Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is the narrowing of arteries that reduces blood flow. It can cause numbness in the feet and is often accompanied by leg pain and cold lower legs.

4. Cold feet

Although constantly cold feet can signal serious problems such as PAD, lupus, or even rheumatoid arthritis, it is most often caused by Raynaud’s disease.

What to watch for

Raynaud’s disease is a common condition that causes the blood vessels in the feet or hands to be overly constricted in response to cold temperatures. It can also be accompanied by temporary color change in the toes, which turn white because an artery is closed, or blue or purple because an artery is dilated.

While Raynaud’s is usually harmless, it is also a common condition among people who suffer from underlying vascular disease. It is important to talk to your podiatrist if you suffer from cold feet in addition to symptoms such as skin changes and sores on the toes or fingertips that don’t heal.

Are you experiencing any of these foot problems? Consult a podiatrist to get them checked out, identify the source of the problem, and find a solution to help you get back to you optimal health.

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