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What Your Feet Say About Your Health

December 11, 2012, 6:06 PM by Casey Wonnenberg

What Your Feet Say About Your Health

You likely don't spend a lot of time looking at your feet, but maybe you should.  Doctors say you should watch out for changes in your feet and toenails because it could be a sign of other health issues.

Whether it's boots with fur or tennis shoes, you might care what you wear on your feet.  But how often do you actually look at your feet?

"Um, not very often," Amanda Marohl said.

"My feet? Probably every day," Isabelle Chan said.

"I'm not like, 'Okay everyone look; look at my feet,'" Marohl said.

After all, you don't want to be known as the person who has a foot fetish.  But Sanford Podiatrist Dr. Jeffrey Wienke says you should pay attention to them.

"People check their feet every day, in the shower, after the shower," Wienke said.

In fact, Wienke says by looking at your feet you can detect other health problems.

"Pain at night, where they have to put their feet down to get the pain to go away, that's a really good sign they have poor circulation. That should be addressed right away," Wienke said.

Other signs of decreased circulation include discoloration in your feet or legs or a loss of hair growth in your feet or toes. If you notice these changes, it could be life-saving to get it checked out.

"If the arteries to the heart get blocked, the first sign you would have is chest pain or a heart attack. It's often times diagnosed earlier in the feet than elsewhere in the body," Wienke said.

It's not only your feet, but your toenails can indicate signs of other health problems.

"Toenails that are spoon-shaped or have different striped patterns in the toenails could be signs of problems with your liver," Wienke said.

Wienke says a lot of times diseases manifest themselves in the toenails.

"Toenails that are clubbed, like when you put your fingers or toes together if your fingernails or toenails touch, that's called clubbing. That could be a sign of COPD or lung problems," Wienke said.

Dr. Wienke says two other things you should pay attention to are sores on your feet that don't heal and numbness that starts in your toes and works its way up your feet. Those could be early signs of diabetes, a thyroid problem, or a Vitamin B12 deficiency.

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