Your Feet Can Tell You Some Things About Your Health


...elusive dreamer
Apr 5, 2009
Feet, toenails even the hair on your toes can tell you some things about your overall health. Full article here.

When was the last time you really looked at your feet? Examined them top to bottom, heel to toe?

“You should inspect your feet every day because their condition can provide clues to other health issues,” says Leslie Campbell, DPM, a podiatrist in Allen, Texas, and a representative of the American Podiatric Medical Association.

Symptoms like pain in your heel or big toe, swelling or redness, brittle or pitted toenails, and numbness or cramping should never be ignored. They could signal a systemic disease that requires evaluation—and cause plenty of misery if left untreated.

Nail Woes

Podiatrists often see dry, brittle toenails. While they could be related to environmental factors or a vitamin A deficiency, brittle toenails are often linked to thyroid disease. If moisturizing doesn’t help, Campbell recommends seeing a practitioner.

“The nail plate is just keratin,” notes Gregory Catalano, DPM, podiatrist in Concord, Massachusetts, “so not all vitamin deficiencies will be evident in the structure of the nail.”

Pitted or pockmarked toenails, or nails with white patches, may be signs of psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis; Campbell says consulting a dermatologist would be wise. She also cautions that a dark, vertical line on the nail could be an indication of a hidden melanoma. While only 5% of melanomas affect nails, if left untreated, this skin cancer could spread.

A condition referred to a “spoon nail,” in which there’s a depression in the nail large enough to hold liquid, could signal iron-deficiency anemia or lupus, an autoimmune disease.