10 Health Problems Your Feet Can Reveal

Just as your eyes provide “windows to the soul,” your feet are windows to bodily diseases. Podiatrist Kenneth R. Wilhelm, DPM of Clifton Foot & Ankle Center is well qualified to recognize the warning signs of these 10 general health problems that your feet may provide.

  1. Diabetes. If you come to our Fairfax County podiatry office complaining of numb feet or unexplained foot pain, you may have Type 2 diabetes. If you already know you have diabetes and you develop these symptoms in your feet, your blood glucose might be too high.
  2. Skin cancer. The skin on your feet is just as vulnerable to cancer as the rest of your skin. A full foot exam includes checking for changes on the skin’s surface. Toenail discoloration can also be a sign of cancer.
  3. Arthritis. Pain in any of the joints in your ankles, feet, and toes can mean you’ve got osteoarthritis.
  4. Peripheral arterial disease (PAD). Persistent pain in your lower limbs, ankles, and feet, particularly after walking or exercising, can indicate bad circulation due to PAD. Numbness and tingling are two other symptoms of this serious vascular problem.
  5. Nerve damage. Numbness, tingling, or pain might also mean you’ve got some nerve damage. It might be simple inflammation of a nerve in your toe, called a neuroma. But nerve damage and diabetes also go together, so it’s important to report such symptoms to our board-certified podiatrist.
  6. Dehydration. Foot pain or cramping can mean you’re not taking in enough fluids.
  7. Infection. Frequent infections are another sign of diabetes.
  8. Osteoporosis. We frequently diagnose this “brittle bone disease” when a patient has a broken bone that’s not caused by known trauma.
  9. Nutritional deficiency. Lower limbs that regularly ache may be missing a crucial vitamin or nutrient such as potassium or magnesium.
  10. Oversupply of uric acid. Uric acid is a waste product that can build up in your blood if it’s not being properly excreted from your body. When that happens, uric acid crystals can build up in your big toe and cause gout. Dr. Wilhelm can help you find out what’s behind the oversupply of uric acid in your system.

Regular foot exams often reveal other health problems in the body and are crucial for our patients with diabetes. If you’re diabetic, we recommend that your visit us at least once a year, more often if you’re experiencing any of the symptoms noted above. Call us in Centreville, Virginia at (703) 996-3000 or make an appointment online.

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