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foot specialist showing senior woman how to use band for foot exercises

The Link Between Foot Health and Overall Wellness

Foot health directly correlates with our overall wellness. Seniors, in particular, can learn a lot about their general health when they start to understand the biomechanics of healthy feet. How feet look, how they feel, and how they function can be a sign of a serious health issue. This is also true in reverse — neglecting foot health can lead to conditions and other problems. Let’s take a look at how our feet act as a mirror to our holistic health. Here are the two main topics we’ll break down today:

  • How our feet can signify poor health
  • How neglecting foot health affects overall wellness
Woman showing bottom of feet, slightly cracked

How Our Feet Can Signify Poor Health

Your feet will often try to warn you that you need to visit your family doctor or foot specialist. Some of these warning signs include: 

Cold feet

Feet that are cold to the touch and don’t seem to warm up can be a sign of a blood circulation or heart issue. Icy cold feet can also be a sign of peripheral artery disease, which is the narrowing or blockage of blood vessels in the lower extremities, or a thyroid condition. 

Sores and wounds that don’t heal

Diabetes is arguably the medical condition most notorious for damaging our feet. Elevated blood sugar levels can make our feet more susceptible to wounds. Even the tiniest blister, cut, or callus that doesn’t bother the average person can become a major concern. Wounds that do not heal can become infected and lead to devastating problems like gangrene and amputation. 

Numbness and tingling

Bizarre foot sensations are also often a tell-tale sign of diabetes. They warn us that diabetes has progressed to the point of neuropathy (when the disease causes nerve damage). 

Foot swelling (edema)

Injuries, medications, heart and kidney problems, and more can all cause fluid to accumulate in the tissues. Edema can also be a sign that you need to eat less salty foods. 

Foot pain 

From plantar fasciitis to Morton’s neuroma, painful feet can be a sign of many conditions, and it’s tough to really narrow down the cause. Sometimes it may be from simply ignoring foot care for years (wearing unsupportive shoes, not using inserts or orthotics, etc), but sometimes it may be a sign of age-related joint deterioration, like osteoarthritis, or weight gain. 

Strange colouring

Toes that turn red, white or blue may be a sign of Raynaud’s disease (this can also make your feet very cold). This condition often causes blood vessel “spasms” due to their narrowing, and may be connected to stress and cold weather.

How Poor Foot Health Affects Overall Wellness

Taking care of your feet plays an imperative role in an overall healthy lifestyle. Everyone should practice foot care, but foot health tips for seniors are extra important as we age. 

Outside of foot pain and the common foot conditions we all know about, here are some other ways poor foot health can affect you: 

Back, knee and hip pain

Foot issues may contribute to pain and discomfort in the back, knees, and hips due to altered gait and poor posture. This happens when you adopt unusual walking patterns to make up for the fact that your normal stride is painful. Remember, the musculoskeletal system is all connected! 

Heightened injury risk 

Weaker feet = more likely to fall and do some serious damage. Ignoring things like strengthening exercises and wearing proper footwear can lead to vulnerable feet. 

Infections

Don’t ignore skin and toenail issues and assume they will magically go away! We already touched on how important this is for diabetes patients, but brushing off problems like fungal conditions can lead to painful infections that may even harm your immune system. This is true for everybody. 

Stop Neglecting Your Feet Today!

At Feet First Clinic, we have the tools to help you get your foot health, and as a result, your overall health back on track. Our services include comprehensive diabetic foot care, custom orthotic fittings, nail and skin care, and so much more!

Book an appointment online today or call us at (416) 769-3338! 

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Carolina Charles

Patient Relation Coordinator (She/Her)

If you’ve been to the clinic before, chances are you had the pleasure of meeting Carolina! Carolina’s daily goal is going above and beyond to make sure patients are always completely satisfied. Having worked in the podiatry industry for 22 years, Carolina brings a wealth of knowledge pertaining to client service, insurance policies, and procedures.​ She steers the ship to make sure everything runs smoothly on the daily. Carolina is known for spicing up every outfit with her signature costume jewellery.