It’s not uncommon for your feet to feel tired after a long day of standing and walking. Most of the time, the discomfort you feel will disappear after some rest. However, there are cases when the problems you’re experiencing are signs of much more severe conditions.
If you’re experiencing prolonged pain and recurring problems with your foot, then it’s time to pay more attention to it. These are indications that you need to seek medical treatment and prevent any health complications from worsening. Here are six signs you should watch out for:
It’s not unusual for your feet to hurt after a long day of walking or running. However, if you start experiencing unbearable or unexplainable pain, you should consult a doctor. If the pain does not go away after resting, or has become a recurring thing throughout the week, it’s time for a medical check-up.
Pain in your feet can indicate several complications that can affect your overall health if left untreated. This could include conditions like:
- Plantar Fasciitis: This condition may occur when your plantar fascia ligament gets strained. Several factors such as ill-fitting footwear, frequent standing, running, and weight gain can result in this condition.
- Heel Spur: You may experience pain or notice a visible bony protrusion as a symptom of a heel spur. This is the result of a calcium deposit growing abnormally between the heel of your foot and arch. It may be difficult to diagnose this at first because a heel spur does not show visible signs during its early stages. You should visit a doctor if there is unexplainable pain in your heel that doesn’t seem to go away.
- Sesamoiditis: Sesamoids are bones found in your foot where tendons link and help move your big toe. When the bones get injured or undergo extreme pressure, sesamoiditis can occur. The inflammation can cause immense pain.
- Metatarsalgia: You may experience pain at the ball of your foot after wearing tight shoes or doing high-impact exercises. This type of foot problem is also called a stone bruise and may cause sharp or numbing pain on your foot.
In most cases, foot pain can be addressed at home by medications, a cold compress, and rest. However, if the pain starts to affect your everyday life, you should consider visiting a doctor. Healthcare facilities like Eastern Idaho Foot Clinic can diagnose your condition and prescribe the necessary treatment you need. By seeking immediate medical attention, you’re preventing the problem from getting worse.
Itchiness on your feet can indicate a condition called athlete’s foot. This is a fungal infection and it causes persistent itching. You may also experience stinging or a burning sensation on your feet. You can get athlete’s foot by making contact with fungus in wet environments such as public showers, pools, and locker rooms. Unwashed socks could also be the culprit.
Aside from the itchiness and irritation on your foot, you may also experience blisters, cracked and dry skin, or crumbly toenails. It can sometimes be challenging to treat this problem, but you can start with an over-the-counter product to get rid of the fungal infection. If it doesn’t go away, you need to see a doctor and get a prescription for severe athlete’s foot.
3. Visible Signs On Your Foot
Signs like blisters or bumps can also indicate that you have an underlying foot problem. It’s not uncommon for people to get calluses or blisters on their feet from wearing new shoes. Most of the time, it’s nothing serious and can be solved with ointments. However, other marks can indicate a much more serious problem. The condition may seem to be not harmful at first, but if left unattended, it could become a prelude to other types of infection.
- Bunions: A bump on your big toe may be an indication of a bunion. This condition makes your big toe bend inwards and cause a lot of pain when you walk. It can also irritate your other toes, so it’s best to see a doctor and address this condition as soon as possible.
- Corns: You may find round thickened skin on your foot if you always wear poor-fitting shoes. Though corns aren’t painful, they can get infected or irritated over time, so it’s best to remove them early on. You should also avoid wearing overly tight shoes to prevent the growth of corns on your feet.
- Plantar Wart: If you see a grainy skin growth on the bottom of your foot, then you’re probably suffering from a plantar wart. This foot problem is caused by the human papillomavirus that’s usually transmitted in wet environments.
4. Physical Deformation
Once you observe that your foot seems to be swelling or your toes look misaligned, it’s best to visit a doctor. Deformation means you have an underlying problem that home remedies may not solve. You should watch out for the following and consult a doctor immediately to determine if you need to be prescribed treatments or medications.
- Claw Toe: A claw toe results when your first and second toe joints irregularly bend your toes, making it look like a ‘claw.’ Some people may inherit this condition, while others develop it over time. It can be painful, especially when you need to wear closed shoes. In some cases, a claw toe can also indicate more serious medical conditions like diabetes, cerebral palsy, or rheumatoid arthritis. You can’t determine the cause of your claw toe, so it’s best to consult a doctor and get a diagnosis.
- Hammer Toe: Another condition you need to watch out for is a Hammer Toe. Compared to a claw toe, a hammer toe only affects your first toe joint, causing it to protrude upwards. Your genetics can increase your risk of developing this illness. However, external factors like your footwear or a recent injury may also cause this condition.
- Morton’s Neuroma: You may not immediately realize that you have Morton’s Neuroma since it doesn’t immediately cause pain. However, one visible sign of this condition is the thickening around the ball of your foot. This is quite common in middle-aged women who usually wear high heels or tight shoes.
- Flat Feet: If you don’t have an arch in your foot when you stand, you probably have Flat Feet. Most people with this condition usually don’t need treatment since it’s not painful and doesn’t pose any serious effects on everyday activities. However, if it becomes bothersome or painful when exercising or standing for long periods, you should see a doctor.
5. Abnormal Toenails
Some foot problems can present themselves on your toenails. Although it’s not as serious as other conditions, it still helps to know if your toenails are healthy or not.
- Ingrown Toenail: Your toenails can grow into the surrounding skin on your toes, which can cause discomfort or tenderness on the skin surrounding your nails. This condition can be caused by poorly trimmed nails, toe injuries, or genetics. You can treat mild cases of ingrown nails at home by soaking your feet in warm water and using pain relievers or antibiotic creams. Keep in mind that you shouldn’t ignore signs of ingrown toenails. Severe cases can lead to infection, pain, bleeding, or pus, which may require medical treatment or even surgery to remove the affected toenail.
- Nail Infection: Aside from warts and athlete’s foot, a fungal infection can also affect your toenails. Yellow spots on your toenails, flaking, breaking, and dryness may be an indication that you have a fungal infection. Various factors can lead to a nail infection, including contaminated nail instruments, skin injury, or moist environments.
6. Past Foot Injuries
Just because you’ve healed from your past injuries, it doesn’t always mean you’re not at risk of relapsing. Sometimes, foot injuries from the past can come back in another form and bother you again.
There are times when you’ll experience pain or discomfort at the same spot where you had your injury. Though this may not mean anything serious, it’s best to visit a doctor to check if there are any complications on your foot. There’s a chance that your injury didn’t heal properly, or your feet haven’t completely recovered from the damages yet.
Your Feet Can Tell You More About Your Health
Your feet can also tell you a lot about the rest of your body. Other illnesses may first show their symptoms on your feet. That’s why you should pay attention to warning signs that your foot may be feeling, so you can address any budding health concerns you may have.
- Cold Feet
It’s not unusual to feel cold, especially during the winter. However, if you constantly feel the need to cover your feet even when the weather is not cold, you may be suffering from thyroid problems. Cold feet can indicate that your thyroid isn’t working correctly or you have blood circulation problems.
- Inverted Toenails
Aside from the fact that sunken toenails look a little unappealing, it may also be an indication that you are suffering from anemia, Raynaud’s disease, or in some cases, lupus. You may feel exhausted, weak, and often short of breath if you lack iron. One way to determine if you have any underlying health problems is by checking your toes. If you see that your toenails are inverted, then you should seek medical attention to get the right diagnosis for your condition.
- Numbness or Oversensitivity
Numbness or tingling on your feet can be a sign of multiple sclerosis (MS). In some cases, one feet’s sensitivity is different from the other. You may either experience oversensitivity or tingling on one foot while the other is completely numb. It’s important to inform your doctor immediately when you start experiencing these abnormal sensitivities on your feet.
- Spider Veins or Varicose Veins
Spider veins or varicose veins may be an indication of a much more severe condition in your lower extremities. Clusters of blood vessels in the inner ankle may indicate that you have venous reflux, a condition that affects your legs and feet’s blood circulation. Venous reflux can lead to blood clots or hemorrhaging, so you should watch out for any visible vein discoloration or swelling around your ankles and feet.
- Skin Discoloration
Skin hyperpigmentation on your feet and ankles can be a sign of chronic venous insufficiency (CVI). This health problem can occur when the valves in your legs aren’t working properly, causing the blood to stay in the veins instead of going back to the heart. Over time, CVI can make your skin firm and dry to the extent of breaking open, causing a venous leg ulcer.
How To Take Care Of Your Feet
Your feet are often the least pampered part of your body. Most people dismiss the idea that they can develop severe complications through the feet. But failure to care for them will cause severe discomfort, and would eventually prevent you from performing daily activities because you cannot stand or walk properly. Therefore, you should always take care of your feet properly. Below are some tips you can follow:
- Wash Your Feet Regularly – Don’t skip on your feet when you’re in the shower just because you think letting the water run from your body down to your feet is enough. Various foot problems can result from fungus infecting your feet, so you should make sure that you wash them with soap and water. Once you’re done, don’t forget to completely dry your feet, including the gaps between your toes. This can help lessen your risk of developing foot odor, athlete’s foot, and fungal infection.
- Moisturize Your Feet – To prevent cracks or calluses on your feet, apply a moisturizer after you take a bath. You can use a simple body lotion or cream to keep your feet moisturized.
- Don’t Wear Tight Shoes – Wearing tight or ill-fitting shoes can cause you discomfort, so try to avoid wearing them. Use shoes that have enough room for your feet to move comfortably, and have enough ankle support. Tight shoes can worsen foot problems like bunions or heel spurs, so try not to use ones that are painful or uncomfortable to wear.
- Massage Your Feet – It’s not unusual for your feet to hurt after a long day of physical activity. Once you get home, spend a couple of minutes massaging your ankles and toes to help your blood circulate and relax your muscles.
- Use Protection – If you put your feet under constant pressure, don’t forget to protect your feet. Activities like ballet and sports put a lot of stress on the feet, which can lead to injuries if there isn’t enough foot support. Choose the right footwear, and try to use ankle support to prevent any injuries from happening.
It’s so easy to take your feet for granted. Most of the pain and discomfort would pass after some rest. Hence, it is easy to assume that there is nothing wrong with your feet. However, you should always stay vigilant. Persistent pain, slight deformation, itching, and abnormal growth in the foot would need medical attention right away.
You should take care of your feet the way you treat the rest of your body. It does not take much to keep your feet in good condition. You just have to keep them clean and dry at all times. Wearing proper footwear also helps. By taking care of your feet, you’re lessening the likelihood of developing severe foot problems that may affect your overall health.