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Your feet can be a surprisingly accurate indicator of your overall well-being, so any new aches and pains, sores or bumps are worth checking out. Often these are minor issues easily dealt with, but occasionally they’re a sign you need extra help and support.

Burning Pain

An uncomfortable burning pain in the feet or lower legs is a sign of peripheral arterial disease (PAD) – a condition where plaque builds up in the arteries causing them to narrow or become completely blocked.

This decreases blood flow to the leg muscles and has serious consequences for your heart if left untreated. Diabetes, high blood pressure, prolonged inactivity or smoking can all be to blame.

The burning sensation may also indicate nerve damage, which reduces your ability to feel pain. This shouldn’t be ignored, as loss of sensation masks problems until they become much more serious.

Swelling and Pain

Arthritis affects the joints and with so many of these in your toes and feet this area is particularly vulnerable. Swelling may be a sign of inflammation as the cartilage and tissues of the joints wear out. The lack of cushioning causes the bones to rub together, and that’s painful!

Swollen feet may also indicate circulation issues associated with diabetes or heart conditions, although poorly fitting shoes will also make your feet swell. When in doubt, the best course of action is to talk to your podiatrist.


This form of inflammatory arthritis occurs in the big toe. It’s caused by an excess of uric acid, which crystallises in the joint and leads to swelling and intense pain. Gout is not only unpredictable and debilitating but also relatively common.

Stubborn Ulcers and Sores

Persistent wounds or sores that refuse to heal should always be taken seriously. They can indicate a variety of issues from diabetic foot ulcers to circulation problems. These things won’t resolve themselves without professional help.

Occasionally, sores can be a sign of skin cancer so please don’t ignore any niggling wounds.

Toenail Issues

Yellow, unhealthy-looking toenails can be a sign of a variety of problems. Skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis or an undiagnosed injury may be lurking. Discoloured patches under the nail are signs of bleeding and bruising – seen in overuse injuries common with sportspeople.

In rare cases, discolouration of the nail points towards a particularly serious form of skin cancer (melanoma). It’s not common in the lower limbs but certainly not impossible – this is definitely something to be aware of when you’re checking your feet.

Hair Loss

If the hair on your feet and legs starts to disappear you need to take note. This means your blood pressure is consistently high over a period of time. Clearly, this isn’t good and leads to further issues if you don’t get the right help. Always ask a podiatrist to have a look if this happens to you.

Cold Feet

If this persists you likely suffer from a circulatory condition. PAD or diabetes are the obvious ones but there’s also Raynaud’s Disease. This occurs when small arteries in the feet (or hands) constrict, and circulation is reduced. Your feet and toes will be uncomfortably cold and it’s likely you’ll struggle to warm them up.

Comprehensive Support at Feet By Pody

With the right support, many conditions can be prevented, alleviated or resolved altogether.

At Feet By Pody, we don’t just deal with specific issues. We support you with advice on the best exercise, the right diet and the most appropriate footwear for your situation.

Contact one of our London clinics today