Phoenix Podiatrist Talks: 8 things your feet are trying to tell you, listen up!

foot exam

We get it. This is the time of Covid-19, we are in a global pandemic that has affected over 118,000,000 worldwide. So your feet may not be a top priority in your life right now. This blog is a subtle reminder that our feet are extremely important. If your feet are sending you any of these warning signs, you should not hesitate to see US!

1.  Cold feet- It's true, your feet may just be cold because it's cold out, if putting on the heat or a pair of socks isn't helping-you should check in with your doctor. Chronically cold feet here in Phoenix, Arizona where it's mostly warm out—could be a sign of PAD (peripheral arterial disease). This is another word for poor circulation. This is made even worse with smoking and some medications. Cold feet can also be a symptom of decreased heart function like in congestive heart failure or an early heart block. Additionally, a condition called Raynaud’s phenomenon could be the culprit. This may be an early sign of an auto-immune disorder like rheumatoid arthritis or lupus. If you notice that your feet are chronically cold or numb, it's time to visit us (click here!) for an exam and circulation review.  

2.    Itchy feet- Itchy feet can be due to a fungal infection with the typical athlete’s foot fungus, or it could be contact dermatitis because your skin is allergic to something. You might also have a chronic inflammatory skin issue like eczema. None of these are dangerous themselves, but if you scratch them they can lead to a bacterial infection. Patients are also at risk for secondary bacterial infections caused by the splitting and cracking of the skin on your feet. If you have chronically itchy feet or a rash, come see us about treatment for these nagging issues. Don't continue to ignore them!

3.  Skin lesions- Lumps and bumps should be monitored from changes and evaluated. Many skin lesions are just from rubbing in your shoes or signs of a skin disorder like psoriasis; but it is important to have all skin lesions checked because they can be a skin cancer or an early infection, especially if you are Diabetic.

4.  Toenail Shape Changes- Changes in the shapes of toenails and the tips of your toes can be an early sign of heart and lung disease. Often the tips of your toes start to bulge and the toenails start to curve. If you notice skin and nail changes that look like a club or spoon, time to get them checked out since clubbing is usually from decreased oxygen in your blood and can be an early sign of lung cancer and heart disease.

5.   Swollen feet and ankles- Most people experience swollen feet and ankles from time to time caused by extensive standing, a long airplane flight or too much salt in your diet. If your swelling persists more than a day or so and is accompanied by pain, dizziness or difficulty breathing, it can be a sign of a much more serious medical condition like a deep venous thrombosis (blood clot in your leg) which can be life threatening. Chronic swelling can be a sign of congestive heart failure, diabetes, chronic renal insufficiency or even a side effect of medications. Do NOT ignore swelling in your feet and ankles that have no obvious explanation!

6. Burning and numbness in your feet- Burning feet may just be from standing too long and having swollen feet. If you're doing a yoga pose too long and feel burning or numbness, you may have a compression injury or "bruise" of the nerve. Burning feet and numbness might also be an early sign of diabetes or PAD (poor circulation). If you have burning sensations that become chronic or painful, then your podiatrist should evaluate you for neuropathy or PAD.

7.  Severe pain and swelling in your great toe- Pain in your big toe can simply be a sign of an ingrown toenail or minor trauma, but severe pain is usually due to gout or an infection. If your big toe joint is red, hot and swollen as well as severely painful, that’s usually gout. Gout can be a sign that your kidneys aren’t functioning correctly or that you need to adjust your diet. Don’t ignore severe pain and swelling!

8.  Yellow, thick toenails- Nails are not supposed to be yellow and chalky. This is usually a sign of a fungal infection. An itchy rash around the toes may also be present. This is usually not a dangerous condition, but in diabetics or people with other immune system compromising conditions like rheumatoid arthritis or renal failure, fungal toenails can lead to infections and gangrene. Don’t ignore toenail changes! Seek the advice of your podiatrist when you notice changes.

We encourage you to seek medical care if you present with any of these 8 symptoms or have any concerns related to your feet or ankles--MAKE AN APPOINTMENT. Don't hesitate and put yourself first. We will see you soon! You can call at 602-309-8788 or schedule an appointment online here.  



Dr. Shylaja Arya Dr. Arya is the owner of Arya Foot & Ankle, a podiatry practice that serves the greater Phoenix area with same day, Saturday, and lunch time appointments. She is a yoga instructor, tennis player, and shoe lover.

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