FEET take an awful pounding. They support our bodies and balance us – and the average person walks the equivalent of five times round the Earth in a lifetime.
However, most people give very little thought to their feet until problems occur; they may be meticulous about regular check-ups for their eyes and teeth, but not their feet.
The California Podiatric Medical Association wants Californians to think about the importance of their FEET during National Foot Health Awareness Month.
“Taking care of your feet is always important, particularly as they spend much of their time encased in hot shoes and walking on hard surfaces” says California Podiatric Medical Association (CPMA) President Dr. Ernest J. Hook.
“Basic hygiene and nail cutting may be all that is needed to keep your feet in good health, but when apparently healthy feet start experiencing problems, it is best to seek professional help,” Hook said.
“Problems can be inherited, develop from illness or be caused from the pressures of ill-fitting shoes or boots. Doctors of Podiatric Medicine (DPMs) are trained in all aspects of care for the feet and lower limbs, and play a critical role in keeping people on their feet, healthy, active and productive.
“A Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM) can get an overview of your general health by examining your feet and toenails. Podiatric physicians look at the function of the foot in relation to the body,” said Hook, a podiatric surgeon in private practice in Folsom, California "We are frequently the first to diagnose certain ailments that give early warning signs in the feet and toes.”
Hair loss on toes - Poor circulation. See a podiatric specialist for evaluation, treatment and, or appropriate referral. .
Blue thread veins with very white skin - Common in long-term smokers. Could be a sign of vascular disease and even heart disease. See a podiatric specialist or your family physician.
Swollen feet - Common in people with kidney or heart problems. Discuss with a podiatric specialist or your family physician.
One foot starts suddenly swelling - Could indicate blockage of a lymph node or a deep-vein thrombosis. Seek immediate medical attention.
Swollen joints - Might indicate rheumatoid or osteoarthritis. If it persists, seek medical advice.
Very dry, cracked heels - linked to some thyroid problems. If you have suffered weight fluctuations too. See a podiatric specialist for evaluation, treatment and, or appropriate referral.
Toenails - If any of the following colors are very pronounced, See a podiatric specialist for evaluation, treatment and, or appropriate referral.
Green - bacterial infections.
Black or brown - usually just bruising, but if it persists you should be checked for cancerous melanomas under the toenail.
A change from a normal pink color to white - when coupled with the separation of the nail from the toe, this could indicate psoriasis, candida infections, anemia or lung cancer.
Corns and blisters - May be a sign of diabetes, as sufferers get numb toes and don't realize their shoes are too tight. If you have other systems like excessive thirst, see a podiatric specialist or your family physician. In addition, CPMA notes that it is extremely important for those with diabetes, arthritis and circulatory problems to see a podiatrist at least a year.