These 6 Changes In Your Feet Could Indicate Health Problems

Sometimes, you need to look down to know what's up. Your feet can be extremely helpful in sending health signals to let you know about an underlying disease or medical condition. Here are six of them you should know about.

1. Diabetes

"Many, many people with diabetes are diagnosed first because of foot problems," said Marlene Reid, a foot specialist based in Illinois.

Experiencing pain or tingling sensations in your feet can be one of the early symptoms of diabetes. Aside from numbness, some may also complain about sores, cuts, and wounds on their feet that do not heal. This occurs due to the high levels of blood sugar which can eventually lead to nerve damage if not controlled.

2. PAD

When an individual develops peripheral arterial disease (PAD), they experience a reduction in the amount of blood that flows to their legs. Sometimes, it may occur due to a build-up of fatty deposits within the walls of the arteries. 

"Signs of PAD can include decreased hair growth on the feet and ankles, purplish toes, and thin or shiny skin," said Dr. Suzanne Fuchs, a podiatric surgeon at the North Shore University Hospital in New York.

3. Melanoma

While melanomas usually occur on the skin, a small portion of them known as subungual melanomas can form under the nails. 

For potential signs, look for discolorations running from the cuticle to the tips, or brownish-black streaks underneath the nails. Streaks may increase in size with time and also be accompanied by the nail slowly separating from the nail bed.

4. Stress fracture

Stress fractures (tiny cracks in a bone) are most common in the weight-bearing bones of the lower leg and foot. Experiencing pain in your feet while walking/exercising which goes away while resting is said to be a sign.

While they are usually considered to be a sign of osteoporosis, they can also occur due to the lack of nutrients, poor footwear, certain sports, suddenly shifting from a sedentary lifestyle to intense training, and more.

5. Hyperhidrosis

While most of us are prone to normal levels of sweating, some people may be suffering from hyperhidrosis, characterized by excessive sweating. Feet that seem to have a perpetual stench could be a symptom. 

Smelly feet can also indicate an infection, especially if you haven't been switching out your socks or cleaning your shoes enough. "Your feet sweat into your shoes all day so they get damp and bacteria start to grow," explained Lorraine Jones, a London-based podiatrist.

6. Blood clot

Some amount of swelling can be expected in pregnant women, people who have sat through a particularly long flight, those taking certain medications, etc.

However, swollen ankles and feet can be a strong sign of deep vein thrombosis if they are also painful. This means a clot is blocking your blood flow and could potentially be fatal if it travels to the lungs. It is important to get unexplained swelling checked by a doctor so they can rule out serious conditions like heart, liver, or kidney disease.