Most people don't give much thought to their feet until something happens that they can't ignore. However, certain foot conditions are sometimes indicators or overall health issues. Following are four things that your podiatrist may be able to tell you about your general health.
Sudden Disappearance of Hair on your Toes
If the hair on your toes disappears during a relatively short period of time or fails to grow back after you shave it off, it's possible that you may have developed a cardiovascular condition. Shiny, hairless skin around the toes and feet indicate the presence of plaque buildup in the arteries, which occurs when hair follicles are killed off as blood vessels under the skin die due to a lack of nourishment from proper blood flow. Your podiatrist will be able to examine the area to see if the hair follicles are indeed dead or damaged.
A Sore That Doesn't Heal
An open sore on your foot that doesn't heal or takes much longer to heal than normal is a possible indication that you may be suffering from the onset of diabetes. In fact, this is often the first sign that someone has developed Type II diabetes. One of the reasons why this occurs is that diabetic often lose a degree of sensation, which causes many people to be unaware of small cuts and other insignificant wounds on their feet until they progress to the point where the person feels pain. Those with undiagnosed diabetes often step on small objects without noticing because of the decreased feeling in the bottoms of their feet.
Black Spots Under Your Toenails
Black spots or vertical lines under your toenails may be a sign of a certain type of skin cancer called acral lentiginous melanoma. You're more likely to develop this disease if you are of Asian or African American heritage. However, this condition could also be caused by a fungal disorder as well as simply bruising caused by dropping something on your foot. Small brown and black spots on the soles of the feet as well as on the hands may also indicate that you need to be screened for melanoma.
Cracked, Flaky, Dry Skin on the Heels
The skin on the heels takes quite a beating and usually requires regular moisturizing to stay soft and smooth. However, if it becomes noticeably flaky, dry, and cracked for no discernable reason, you may have an underactive thyroid.
Scheduling regular checkups by a qualified podiatrist helps catch the above conditions and many more early on, allowing for better treatment options and prognosis. Go to the website http://www.advancedfootclinic.org for more information about podiatrists.
When you have an ingrown toenail, it can be tempting to take care of the problem on your own. Armed with a set of tweezers and some nail clippers, you might be ready to get in there and take care of business. Unfortunately, a few missteps could lead to a serious infection. I have made this mistake myself, and it almost cost me my toe. I hope that as you evaluate your own foot problems that you will remember how valuable a podiatrist can be. Your foot doctor can inspect your problem and recommend the proper course of action. Read through my website to learn more.