What do problems with your feet have in common with your heart? More than you probably think. Even though your feet are quite a distance from your heart, they can provide signs of your overall health. Because February is American Heart Month, in today’s post, Dr. Eric Ricefield, Dr. Mark Yagodich, Dr. Aliza V. Eisen, and Cassandra Stache, DPM of greater Philadelphia’s Your Next Step Foot and Ankle Care Center share some of these signs.
One reason you experience problems with your feet is that they’re so far away from your heart. When your heart’s pumping becomes strained by conditions such as peripheral arterial disease (PAD), it diminishes the flow of blood to your feet, which makes them swell and hurt. When your feet don’t get the oxygen they need, serious health conditions can arise, such as the following.
- Burning, shooting pain, or swelling in the feet can be associated with numerous conditions. Never disregard foot pain or think you have to live with it as a normal part of your life.
- High blood pressure diminishes circulation and decreases blood flow. The symptoms include abnormal coloring, diminishing pulses in the feet, and a reduced temperature in the foot. One concern with diminished blood flow to the feet is that this reduces the body’s ability to heal bruises and cuts, which can lead to infection.
- Open sores that take a long time to heal or don’t heal at all can be symptoms of blood disorders such as anemia. This can be caused by inflammatory conditions of the blood vessels or hypertension. Podiatrists can identify ulcerations, so during your visit, be sure to mention if you’ve experienced them before.
- Be sure to let your podiatrist know if you feel a strange sensation in your feet. Visible swelling or sensations of burning could be a sign of heart, kidney, or circulatory issues. Burning in the feet and foot pain are signs that your circulation is not functioning properly. If you experience any of these symptoms, schedule a visit with your podiatrist
- Diabetes can impact the small arteries in your feet, causing you to lose feeling in them. Numbness is also a sign of diminished circulation. If you have diabetes or pre-diabetic high blood sugar, talk to your podiatrist and let him/her know if you are taking insulin or other medications to manage your diabetes.
If you notice any of these symptoms or have other issues that are affecting your foot health, contact Greater Philadelphia’s Your Next Step Foot and Ankle Care Center to schedule your next checkup. You can click here to locate contact information for the office nearest you to book your appointment.