Your feet can reveal serious health problems, says expert

The expert has explained how people’s feet can show warning signs(Getty Images)

A pharmacist reveals how feet can help spot serious health problems

Most of us go through life not giving our feet a second thought, but if you’ve got cold toes, or a cut on your foot which won’t heal, there are many conditions which could be making themselves obvious on your extremities. From signs of fungal nail infections to other, there are many things that can be seen when you look a little closer at your feet – and it’ll be clear when you need to contact your GP about any foot-related worries you may have.

Now Noel Wicks, pharmacist and advisor to Excilor, has revealed how heart disease and diabetes are among the most serious your feet can be telling you about. He told “We need to keep an eye on our foot health, including our toenails, because it can impact on our overall health and be a sign of [serious] health issues.”

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Feet can reveal signs of heart disease and diabetes

Each foot is made up of 26 bones, 30 joints and more than 100 muscles but it is also the home of many blood vessels. The blood vessels to the toes are tiny so it doesn’t take much for them to clog up with fat – a marker of heart disease.

The pharmacist explained this process can therefore spur on cold, numb, painful, or swollen feet. Wicks added: “Thickening and brittleness of toenails may also occur with heart disease.”

Diabetes can be detected through foot health

Worryingly, signs of diabetes in the feet can be vague and easily missed, the expert explained. He recommended looking out for the following warning signs in your feet, such as tingling, burning or pain, a loss of sense of touch, cracked, dry skin, blisters and sores which refuse to heal, fungal infections (including yellow thickened nails) and athlete’s foot.

Peripheral Arterial Disease restricts blood supply to leg muscles

Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is a common condition where a build-up of fatty deposits in the arteries restricts blood supply to leg muscles. It’s also known as peripheral vascular disease (PVD), according to the NHS.

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The website says: “Many people with PAD have no symptoms. However, some develop a painful ache in their legs when they walk, which usually disappears after a few minutes’ rest. The medical term for this is ‘intermittent claudication’. The pain can range from mild to severe, and usually goes away after a few minutes when you rest your legs. Both legs are often affected at the same time, although the pain may be worse in one leg.”