“There is nothing permanent except change,” a wise Greek philosopher once said. Life throws change at us all the time – including physical changes in our body. However, you shouldn’t accept all changes in your feet as normal. Changes in how your feet look, feel, or move can be signs of trouble not only in your feet but in other bodily systems as well.
Here are some changes to look out for:
- Something looks different. For example, your toenails have gotten thick and brittle. The most likely cause is a fungal nail infection. However, thickened nails can also be a sign of psoriasis or diabetes. A stress fracture might cause your big toe to swell up but so can gout, a disease that requires some changes in your diet. Do you have trouble walking or wearing shoes because of a large bump that’s developed at the base of your toe? You may have a bunion that needs a podiatrist’s care.
- You’ve got a sore that won’t heal. Wounds should show signs of healing within a few days. If they don’t, it may be because healing blood isn’t getting to your feet. That’s a circulatory problem called PAD – which can be a sign of diabetes.
- Movement is difficult. Some changes are the result of aging, like osteoarthritis, which can cause pain and limited movement. If you experience a change in foot strength or you can’t lift your foot at all, that’s not normal aging. It might be a symptom of a neurological disorder.
- Your feet are often cold and numb. Poor circulation, heart disease, anemia, and diabetes can all cause cold feet. Numbness can result from PAD, but your feet might also have nerve damage (peripheral neuropathy). Toes that frequently turn blue or white when you feel cold might be Raynaud’s phenomenon.
Dr. Craig B. Frey and Dr. Megan L. Oltmann of Foot & Ankle Associates of Cleveland are expert podiatrists who diagnose and treat all changes in your feet. If you live in Summit, Portage, Geauga, or Cuyahoga County, visit our Solon office to address your concerns. Call (440) 903-1041 or contact us online for an appointment.