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Your feet are great indicators of your overall health, so keeping an eye on their condition is always a good idea.

Symptoms for all sorts of things can appear here, and often the solution is easy. However, some problems can be more serious, so it’s wise to pay attention to any changes that arise.

Here are six common issues to look out for:

1. Cold Feet

An underactive thyroid can be the culprit here, and your GP can prescribe medication to top up your levels. You can also take action yourself. Regular exercise, a healthy diet and warm socks are all good for stimulating the circulation and general wellbeing. Gentle yoga and breathing exercises are good ways to start if you’ve been less active.

2. Foot Cramps

Dehydration is often a factor and this leads to muscle cramps, so make sure you drink plenty of water. Cramps can also be attributed to mineral deficiencies, in particular low levels of potassium, calcium and magnesium.

Increasing your intake of fruit and vegetables is a good way to deal with this, and soaking your feet in a warm footbath can work wonders as well. However, if the condition doesn’t improve you should get another opinion. Regular cramping may indicate nerve damage or circulation issues.

3. Itchy, Dry, Flaky Skin

This can indicate a fungal infection such as athlete’s foot, and you don’t need to be an athlete to get it. We all have fungal spores on our skin and mostly they don’t cause any trouble, but in warm and moist environments the spores can grow and multiply. This leads to infection and can spread across the feet and to the toenails.

Itchy, flaky skin can also be a sign of psoriasis or eczema. All these conditions can be relieved by keeping your feet as cool and dry as possible at all times. It can also be necessary to use anti-fungal medication; your podiatrist can help with this.  

4. Sores and Ulcers

Recurring infections or sores that refuse to heal may be signs of diabetes or multiple sclerosis, as both of these can cause nerve damage. With so many nerves in the soles of your feet, it’s not surprising that diabetes can manifest here.

Wounds that won’t heal may also be a sign of skin cancer, which can occur anywhere on your body. These are mostly matters for the doctor but your podiatrist will certainly offer guidance, especially with regular diabetic foot assessments.

5. Swollen, Red and Painful Big Toe

A painful and inflamed big toe joint can be a sign of gout. This is often linked to medication for high blood pressure or cholesterol. It may also be caused by excessive alcohol consumption (particularly beer) or by being overweight.

Inflammatory arthritis or infection will produce similar symptoms. A visit to your GP to adjust your medication may be in order. They can also prescribe anti-inflammatory medication. Having a healthy diet and making simple improvements will help as well, so cut down on red meat, sugar, full-fat dairy products and alcohol.

6. Sunken Nails

Your nails may be naturally spoon-shaped but this could indicate an iron deficiency. The result is constant fatigue and pale skin. Ladies of menstruating age are often affected. 

By increasing your intake of green leafy vegetables and pulses, you’ll boost your iron levels. Green, leafy vegetables like kale and spinach, and pulses such as beans and lentils are ideal for this.

Here to Help

Don’t wait for problems to occur. Stay healthy and keep your feet in good working order with regular check ups. Contact Feet By Pody to make an appointment at one of our London clinics today.