Feet have a pretty tough job to do. But just because feet are tough, doesn’t mean they’re invincible. Yet, many people will ignore persistent foot pain or changes in the foot’s appearance and function for too long. Ignoring early warning signs of foot problems can leave you at risk for more serious foot conditions. Here are several foot symptoms that could spell the start of a more serious problem.
Discoloration of your toenails could be a sign of a fungal nail infection, which often begins as a yellow or dark spot under the nail. If left untreated, the infection can spread to surrounding toes. If you have diabetes, an unchecked fungal nail infection could become extreme enough to lead to foot amputation.
Many conditions can cause discoloration of the feet. One, known as Raynaud’s disease, is characterized by a sequence of color changes in the skin as a response to cold or stress.
Heel pain caused by stepping on a hard object like a rock will usually go away on its own with a bit of rest. But when heel pain doesn’t subside, it could be a sign of a more serious foot condition like plantar fasciitis or heel spurs. Left untreated, heel pain can lead to difficulty in walking that may ultimately require complicated, lengthy, or costly therapy. Read our guide on what to do at the first sign of heel pain.
Chronically cold feet and toes could be a sign of poor blood circulation. Smoking and smoking-related conditions like COPD can often affect the circulation of blood throughout the body. Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) and many forms of heart disease can restrict arteries and reduce blood flow as well. Bodily extremities like the feet are particularly susceptible to poor circulation, which may make feet feel cold or numb.
The most common culprit of itchy feet is a fungal infection like athlete’s foot. In some cases, itchy feet may result from an allergic reaction to skin creams or from an immune condition like psoriasis.
Big toe pain
Pain focused around the tip and corner of your toenail, could be a sign of an ingrown toenail. Sudden, severe pain in the big toe joint (especially at night) could be caused by a form of arthritis called gout. Rheumatoid arthritis could be another explanation for toe pain, as early symptoms tend to affect toe and finger joints.
Often, foot swelling comes from standing for an extended period of time, wearing restrictive footwear or a minor injury like a sprained ankle. However, foot swelling that lasts for more than a couple of days could be caused by fluid buildup due to heart failure or kidney disease. Swelling may also result from inflammation from rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis.
Tired, overworked feet can cause short-term burning or tingling. More severe burning or tingling in the feet could be a sign of diabetic nerve damage or a circulatory condition known as peripheral arterial disease (PAD).
If you ignore what your feet are trying to tell you, you could up facing some pretty serious consequences. In addition to paying close attention to your feet, you should schedule regular visits to your podiatrist for a thorough foot health evaluation. If you’re in the Austin area, contact us for an appointment at our North Austin location today!