Thyroid Disease and Your Feet: 3 Facts

Did you know that January is Thyroid Awareness Month? So how much do you know about your thyroid, thyroid disease, or its potential problems on your foot health? In today’s post, Dr. Eric Ricefield, Dr. Mark Yagodich,  Dr. Aliza V. Eisen, and Dr. Cassandra Stache of greater Philadelphia’s Your Next Step Foot and Ankle Care Center share 3 important things you need to know about your thyroid and how it can affect your feet.

  1. What is your thyroid, and what conditions affect it? The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland that sits in your throat. It’s a part of your endocrine system that produces hormones that help control your metabolism.

There are two types of thyroid disease: hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. Hypothyroidism, the more common of the two conditions, happens when the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone. This condition also is referred to as underactive thyroid. Almost five percent of Americans ages 12+ experience hypothyroidism.

Hyperthyroidism is a condition when the thyroid produces too much thyroid hormone and speeds up your metabolism. Symptoms include a fast heartbeat, unexplained weight loss, anxiety, and an increased appetite.

  1. What are the indications of thyroid disease? Symptoms include weight gain with no known reason, fatigue, joint pain, and cold extremities. In your feet, this joint pain may be accompanied by inflammation and pain symptoms that appear to be arthritis but are a certain condition known as arthropathy. When left untreated, the discomfort caused by this condition can make it difficult to stand, walk, exercise, engage in daily life activities, or even wear shoes.
  2. How is thyroid disease treated? Treatment options for thyroid-related foot issues include physical therapy, custom orthotics, customized shoe inserts that offer improved support and cushioning, and medication. Production of custom orthotics typically begins with a high-tech foot scan, and much like prosthetics or contact lenses, they are covered by most insurance plans.

People of all ages – men, women, and children – should schedule a visit with their podiatrist each year for an examination to rule out any issues. When was your last visit?

If it’s been more than a year, 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.

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