What Your Feet Are Telling You About Your Health?
Looking closer at your feet can help you learn about other potential health issues that you might not otherwise have noticed. From minor foot pain or leg pain to more serious symptoms, such as numbness, your feet can show symptoms of disease before other parts of your body.
Here are 5 important health signals your feet may be sending:
- Cold feet or toes
- Cold feet may be a sign of vascular disease that is causing poor blood circulation to your extremities, also known as Peripheral Artery Disease (P.A.D.). P.A.D. is a circulatory condition that causes narrowing of the blood vessels and arteries which limits blood flow to your extremities resulting in pain.
- Sores that won’t heal
- Stubborn foot sores are red flags for diabetes. Diabetes can impair sensation in the feet, circulation, and normal wound healing, so even a blister can become a troublesome wound. Diabetics should wash and dry their feet and check them for any wounds every day. Slow-healing sores can also be caused by poor leg circulation from conditions such as P.A.D.
- Numbness or tingling
- You’ve probably experienced numbness or unpleasant pins and needles sensation in your feet if you sat in one position for too long, or if you fell asleep in an awkward angle. But if it happens regularly or while you’re active, it might be a sign of peripheral neuropathy. Peripheral neuropathy, a result of damage to your peripheral nerves, often causes weakness, numbness and pain in your hands or feet.
- Hair loss, patchy spots or changes in nail or skin color
- Poor circulation, usually caused by vascular disease, can cause hair to disappear from the feet. When the heart loses the ability to pump enough blood to the extremities because of arteriosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, the body has to prioritize its use.
- Pain in the foot when walking or exercising
- Randomly occurring cramps are about as generic as foot problems get. They can be as serious as circulation and nerve issues, or as harmless as a nutritional deficiency. If the pain stops when resting and then returns when walking or exercising it could be a sign of atherosclerosis or P.A.D. This occurs when plaque forms in the arteries and narrows the passageway that carries blood from the heart to other parts of the body, including the legs, arms and torso.
A seemingly minor problem with your feet, might warrant more attention than you first imagined. If you pay attention to the state of your feet, you can prevent a number of serious health issues for years to come.
Peripheral Vascular Associates is proud to serve the San Antonio community and surrounding areas in vascular disease education, prevention, and treatment for over 43 years. Our vascular physicians are dedicated to helping our patients better understand how we can help them with vascular disease. If you would like more information about vascular health, please contact us or schedule an appointment at (210) 237-4444.