Five Diseases Revealed by Symptoms in Your Feet


We are all used to hearing about foot problems such as hammertoes, bunions, nail fungus, and more, but do you know that your feet can also display symptoms that reveal other, more systemic illnesses? Read on to learn more.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system – which normally protects its health by attacking foreign substances like bacteria and viruses – mistakenly attacks the joints. If you experience foot pain that interferes with standing, walking, or daily activities, you should see a podiatrist to have it investigated, whether that discomfort is intermittent or persistent.


Nagging foot wounds that refuse to heal, perhaps even becoming ulcers, can be a sign of diabetes. Poor circulation and nerve damage can occur when blood glucose levels remain poorly managed over long periods of time. What begins as a small sore, like a blister or a heel crack, may not get better in a reasonable time frame. Other podiatric signs of diabetes include persistent chill, numbness, or tingling.

Thyroid Disease

Have you observed the skin on your feet becoming extraordinarily dry, cracked, or flaky? Is moisturizer failing to fix the problem? It may be the symptom of thyroid disease. Your thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland located in your throat. It produces hormones that maintain proper metabolism, blood pressure, tissue growth, and nervous system functions. Especially when combined with unexplained weight gain, these symptoms usually signify a problem with your thyroid.

Peripheral Arterial Disease

Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) is a condition that causes buildup of plaque in the arteries that narrows passageways and makes it harder for blood to move through the body. Smokers are at a higher risk for this -- and most circulatory ailments -- than others, but numerous factors come into play including age, gender, and family history. One sign to look out for: everyone has a bit of hair on their toes. If yours suddenly disappears, it could be a symptom of poor circulation caused by PAD.


If you notice sudden redness, swelling, or pain in the joint of your big toe, especially after a big night on the town, you could be seeing symptoms of gout. Uric acid crystals in your body, typically excreted through urine, build up and settle into your joints, especially the knuckle of the big toe. Once known as the “disease of kings,” gout is often triggered by overindulgence in  red meat, seafood, and alcohol.

If you have any concerns about symptoms you’ve observed lately, it’s time to visit the podiatrist. With decades of specialized education and experience, Dr. James M. McKee will thoroughly examine your feet and ankles, accurately diagnose any existing or potential areas of concern, create an individualized treatment plan, and provide comprehensive aftercare. You can contact us online or call Podiatry Group of Annapolis, P.A. at 410-224-4448 to schedule a convenient appointment at our office on Solomons Island Road in Annapolis, MD.