Have you recently noticed your feet turning yellow? Perhaps the yellow feet are subtle. Or perhaps the yellow skin is an alarming, bright tint, and you need some clarity about the seriousness of the situation.
The truth is that yellow feet can be either harmless or a sign of an underlying condition that needs consistent medical attention.
Why Do I Have Yellow Feet?
It’s important to notice other skin changes when assessing your yellow feet. Your skin could be waxy, thick and dry, or the entire foot could be yellow (maybe more severe) instead of just a section (maybe less severe). Some of the most common conditions associated with yellow feet include:
- Foods with carotenoids
- Cold temperatures and Raynaud’s disease
Calluses are one of the most common culprits behind yellow feet. They are patches of hardened skin typically noticed on the weight-bearing areas like the soles of the feet and the fat pads in the plantar area.
More specifically, calluses usually form on the ball of your foot, the bottom of your heel, the bottom of your big toe, or the side of your foot. Calluses may also have a slightly yellowish tint, which could be why the bottom of your feet appears yellow.
Yellow bottoms of the feet can also be a sign of jaundice. Not a standalone foot condition, jaundice can affect children and adults and target any part of the body.
The yellowing of the skin is caused by high levels of bilirubin in the body. This is a bile pigment formed by the breakdown of red blood cells. Furthermore, additional jaundice symptoms can vary depending on the cause. Infection-related jaundice can include flu-like symptoms such as fever, chills and abdominal pain. But jaundice can also result from more serious circumstances, like contracting hepatitis or liver disease.
Eating Certain Foods/Carotenoids
It’s surprising how what we eat can affect our body, and in more ways than just our weight!
Many foods we eat contain carotenoids, which are red, orange or yellow pigment in colour, and are found in such foods as carrots, turmeric and squash. Most foods that contain carotenoids are full of nutrients and considered a part of a healthy diet; however, excessive consumption of these foods can give you yellow skin, including making the bottom of the feet yellow.
Iron deficiency anemia can cause pale and yellow skin. People with this condition need to boost their iron intake through vitamins or dietary changes.
Your healthcare practitioner can help you determine if you have anemia by asking about additional symptoms and performing blood tests. These typically include brittle nails, chest pain, extreme fatigue, and weakness.
The Weather and Raynaud’s Disease
Seasonality can significantly affect your foot health, which is why it’s essential to be vigilant about foot care when temperatures fluctuate.
But this goes a step further when you have Raynaud’s disease. This syndrome causes blood vessels to constrict rapidly when the feet or fingers are exposed to cold temperatures, restricting necessary blood flow. In turn, your feet turn blue or yellow and become extremely pale. Emotional stress is also a major trigger for people with Raynaud’s.