Did you know that your feet can act as an “early warning system” for your body? Many times at Texas Foot Specialists our podiatrists Dr. Bruce Miller or Dr. Gregory Mangum will find signs in the examination of the feet or ankles that may point to other disorders or problems that can affect your entire body. Below are some podiatric symptoms and what they may mean.
Wounds that won’t heal. Ulcers on the feet or wounds that are not healing after a long while can be a sign of high blood sugar levels which can lead to damaged blood vessels and diabetes. The podiatrist may recommend that you have your blood sugar levels tested and refer you to a diabetes specialist.
Swollen ankles. Edema—the medical term for swelling—of the ankles may simply mean that you are not drinking enough water. It is also common in pregnant women. However, swollen ankles can also be a sign of something more serious such as kidney disease, a blood clot or heart failure. The podiatrist will want to know how long and how often your ankles swell. If swelling is painful, you should seek medical attention immediately.
Thinning toe hairs. This can be an indicator of poor circulation. Conditions such as peripheral arterial disease (PAD) occur when arteries or blood vessels are narrowed and blocked. Left untreated, poor blood flow can lead to a heart attack or stroke.
Overly dry skin. Patients with a thyroid condition may have dry, flaky or cracked skin on their feet and heels.
Numbness or pins and needles. Changes in sensation in your feet—either a decrease in feeling or the new sensations—can be indicative of neuropathy or nerve damage. Several systemic conditions including diabetes have neuropathy as one symptom.
Toenail spots. Although nails that are brownish or yellow may be the sign of a fungal infection, black spots or lines underneath a toenail may be a melanoma. Although highly treatable, many times melanomas in the nailbed are not diagnosed until a later stage because patients don’t know how to identify them.
It’s important to get unusual toe, foot and ankle symptoms checked by the podiatrist even if they are not causing any pain or discomfort. If you have spotted anything that seems out of the ordinary, make an appointment at our Sugar Land (281-242-4448), Pasadena (281-991-0600) or Houston (713-664-6677) office at your earliest convenience.