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Your feet are your foundation, the part of you that comes into contact with the world most often. Foot health is a critical part of overall health, but many people go through the day with foot pain and problems, never considering how these issues relate to overall health. Your feet hold a quarter of the bones in your body and connect to many vital parts of you. For these reasons, your feet can both impact your overall health and display symptoms when something is amiss elsewhere in your body.

Callused or Sore Feet

Callused or sore feet are a sign that you are not taking good care of your feet. If you work at a job where you are on your feet a lot, it is natural to experience some discomfort. However, regularly soaking your feet, filing rough spots, and keeping your toenails clean and trimmed should help to alleviate discomfort. If your feet are still painful, it may be a sign of larger issues that should be addressed by a medical professional.

Indentations in the Toenails

Spoon shaped indentations in your toenails can be a sign of anemia. The nail bed is often pale and the feet may be cold, as well, due to the poor oxygen circulation. If you notice indentations in your toenails, you should see a doctor. A doctor may be able to help you overcome your iron deficiency with supplements or changes in diet.

Sores That Won’t Heal

If there are sores, cuts, or other abrasions on your feet that won’t heal, it may be a sign of diabetes. Diabetes can cause damage to the nerves and tissues of the feet, affecting healing abilities. The nerve damage also affects the feeling in the feet, so abrasions may not feel painful. A doctor will be able to test your sugar levels and make recommendations for care based on your specific needs, which may help to restore healing functions and circulation to the feet.

Swollen Toes or Joints

Swelling in the toes, especially the big toe, may be a sign of gout, also called gouty arthritis. Swelling in the toe joints may be a sign of rheumatoid arthritis. Redness, stiffness, and pain often accompany these signs. A doctor may be able to provide advice about dietary and lifestyle changes or treatments that may ease the pain and swelling.

Recurring Cramps in the Feet

Cramps in the feet may be a sign of dehydration or malnutrition. Magnesium, calcium, and potassium are all vital for proper muscle function and may cause your feet to cramp up if you do not get enough. Charley horses in the legs may accompany foot cramps. Soaking your feet regularly and eating a balanced diet may help to prevent recurring cramps. If cramps do not go away, a blood test may help to determine the cause of foot cramps.

Be sure to mention even the most minor foot issues to your doctor when receiving a check-up. Your doctor may be able to help you easily overcome issues and help you get back on track to better health. In most cases, your doctor can assist with these issues as part of preventative care, which is covered by your health insurance.