Like many parts of your body, your feet are an amazing window into your health. The condition of your feet can give away valuable information about the overall health and wellbeing of your entire body. Here are some things you should be watching for and what they might mean.
Dry, flaky skin
Do you suffer from chronic dry heels or cracks in your feet along with flaky skin? If so, this can be a yellow flag that your thyroid gland is acting up. The thyroid is instrumental in metabolism, regulating blood pressure and new tissue growth.
Less serious: Dry skin can also be the result of changes in the weather. Had a long day on your feet? Soaking them in sea salt can reduce pain and soreness, soften skin, fight infections, relax your feet AND relax you. Add one teaspoon of sea salt for every cup of water. For an even more luxurious soak, add a few drops of relaxing essential oils like lavender or rosemary.
Men generally have more toe hair than women, but if you look closely, gals, you will see some light hairs on your toes as well. If you happen to notice that you are losing hair or your toes have gone bald, it can be a sign of a lack of blood flow to your foot. One cause of poor blood flow is peripheral arterial disease (PAD). If this condition is not treated, it can result in a stroke, heart attack or even put you at risk for an amputation. Be sure that you are getting plenty of exercise, eating healthy, and not smoking. If you have diabetes or hypertension, you are more likely to have issues with PAD.
What to do: If you suspect PAD, see a doctor immediately for a diagnosis.
Black lines or spots under your toenails
Black spots or lines can appear under your toenails if you drop a heavy object on your foot. However, if you see lines or spots and you have not experienced an injury, it could mean something serious. Discoloration – either black or brown vertical lines might indicate you have hidden melanoma.
Less serious: Marks under the toenail can also be the result of a fungal infection.
Fix toenail fungus with this simple natural remedy
Apple cider vinegar (ACV) has made headlines in the alternative health world for its many wide-ranging benefits, including everything from curing hiccups to aiding weight loss. But did you know another benefit includes curing toenail fungus? Try this easy foot soak to combat the fungus.
- Apple cider vinegar
- Warm water
- In a foot bath, add a 50:50 mixture of ACV and water. Stir to mix. Make sure there’s enough solution to completely cover your feet.
- Dip your clean, dry feet into the solution and soak for about 15 minutes.
- Dry your feet thoroughly. Repeat twice each day.
Numb feet are, like toe baldness, often the result of lack of blood flow to the foot and can be a sign of PAD. More commonly, however, numbness is a sign of peripheral neuropathy, a condition that impacts millions of people and is relative to type 2 diabetes.
Less serious: If you have been sitting in the same position for a long time you can develop numbness in the foot. Be sure that you get up and move around frequently, especially if you have a desk job.
Morning foot pain
Are those first few steps after getting out of bed painful in the morning? If the pain is burning or shooting it could mean a variety of things. It may be the beginning signs of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) which causes joint pain – even in the tiny bones of the feet. If you have joint pain in other parts of our body or you suspect RA, see your physician for a proper diagnosis and treatment options.
Morning foot pain might also be caused by plantar fasciitis, an inflammatory condition that impacts the thick band of tissues connecting your heels to your toes. When you sleep, the band is contracted, and with the first steps of the day, the tissue stretches causing pain. If you suspect plantar fasciitis there are a number of stretches you can do even before you get out of bed that will help prevent the sudden and sharp pain. In addition, you should do foot strengthening exercises and eat a clean diet to help reduce inflammation.
Less serious: Morning foot pain could also be the result of a muscle cramp in the foot. Stretch before getting into bed and before getting out of bed in the morning. Muscle cramps can occur when the body is deficient in certain nutrients, or dehydrated. Be sure you are including plenty of calcium, magnesium, and potassium in your diet and drinking at least eight glasses of water daily.