Did you know there are foot issues that can possibly indicate thyroid problems? Make sure you check your feet regularly for these issues to ensure you have good thyroid health. Keep reading to find out more.
9 Foot Issues That May Indicate an Underlying Thyroid Problem
1. Abnormal Nail Growth and Formation
Maintaining healthy thyroid hormone levels is important to ensure proper toenail growth.
Those who have an active thyroid will see different symptoms from those who have an underactive thyroid.
If you have hyperthyroidism, an overactive thyroid, you may see the following symptoms on your toenails:
- Slow nail growth
- Week, brittle, or cracked nails
- Dry cuticles
- Yellow nails
Onycholysis Definition: This is a condition where your nail/s detach from the skin.
Koilonychia Definition: It’s a nail disease that causes the nails to take a thin, concave shape. In layman’s terms, koilonychia is known as spoon nails.
On the opposite end, patients who have hypothyroidism, an underactive thyroid, may notice the following issues on their toenails:
- Abnormally fast nail growth
- Pitted or pressed down, discolored nails
- Missing lunula or white base area of the nails
Acropachy Definition: This is the clubbing of the nails and swelling of the toes.
2. Swollen Feet
Pitting edema, or swelling that causes the skin to sink when pressed, is one of the most common symptoms of hypothyroidism and it can affect the feet as well. It’s usually accompanied by puffiness of the face, fatigue, constipation, and a sore throat.
3. Foot Cramps
Muscle pain and cramps can be caused by a number of reasons, and aren’t always the result of thyroid problems. However, if chronic pain persists and you cannot pinpoint the exact cause, you should consider testing your thyroid’s health.
For example, Grave’s disease is a thyroid complication where the thyroid gland weakens. As a result, the immune system starts to attack various muscles and joints, including the feet.
Also, patients suffering from thyroid endocrine complications are more at risk of gout and hyperuricemia. If these issues combine, you might end up with swollen, enlarged, and painful feet.
4. “Cold Feet”
Low levels of thyroid hormones affect the heart’s ability to pump blood. As a result, the blood flow throughout the body decreases.
When this happens, the extremities (feet and hands) may feel cold because they’re not getting enough blood. In severe cases of hypothyroidism, the entire body may end up feeling cold.
For better blood circulation, make sure you get at least 20-30 minutes of exercise daily. Constant movement allows blood to flow properly and get to where it needs to go.
You don’t have to follow a complete workout program. In fact, just a few laps of jogging or brisk walking around your neighborhood will be more than enough.
5. Itch or Pruritus
Both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism negatively affect the skin. As a result, the feet may end up feeling itchy.
The feeling of itchiness may not be restricted to your feet. The scalp, hands, body, and genitalia may feel itchy as thyroid complications worsen.
Also, thyroid diseases that attack the immune system may put you at greater risk of developing chronic urticaria (hives) and pruritus.
If your feet feel itchy, regardless if it’s caused by a thyroid or fungal issue, do not scratch it. Doing so may leave light bruises or wounds on your feet, leaving you prone to infection.
Instead, apply some anti-fungal cream on your foot and then have a doctor assess the cause of the itching.
6. Dry, Cracked, Flaky Skin
The Endocrinology Division of SMHS Hospital conducted an experiment on 300 patients suffering from hypothyroidism to see the relationship between thyroid problems and flaky skin. The results showed that out of the 300 patients, 65.22% or 195 patients had dry, coarse skin.
To reduce the cracking on your feet, here’s what you can do:
- Try soaking them in warm, soapy water for 20 minutes every night.
- Afterward, scrub your feet with a loofah or brush.
- Finally, apply some petroleum jelly to reduce dryness and seal in moisture.
7. Yellow-Colored Soles
Thyroid hormones are necessary for converting beta-carotene into vitamin A. These are the same nutrients that give carrots their bright orange color.
So if you have hypothyroidism, your body won’t have enough thyroid hormones to convert the beta-carotene in the body. As a result, the excess beta-carotene builds up and it gives the skin a yellow tint.
8. Foul-Smelling Feet
One of the common symptoms of hyperthyroidism is excessive sweating. As the feet get covered in sweat, they become the perfect breeding ground for bacteria and contaminants that create a foul stench.
While undergoing thyroid treatment, you can minimize the stench of your feet by regularly taking baths, changing your socks, and airing out your shoes. Also, try using a foot powder that absorbs and reduces sweating.
Note: While hyperthyroidism stimulates excessive sweating, hypothyroidism actually has the opposite effect as it reduces sweating.
9. Foot Infections
Hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism leave one prone to foot infections such as athlete’s foot and onychomycosis or fungal infection in the toenails. These infections can make your foot swell, discolor your toenails, or cause puss to drip out of wounds.
Foot infections are often treated with oral or topical antibiotics. Meanwhile, you’ll have to undergo a separate process to address your thyroid complications.
Not many people know how to check their thyroid. So knowing how thyroid problems affect the feet may be helpful in doing a quick checkup.
To help prevent these symptoms from appearing, explore natural health supplements that keep your thyroid glands healthy—an example is Dr. Seeds Thyroid Support System.
Combine it with a healthy diet plan and a regular exercise routine to better manage thyroid issues.
What other ways do you think thyroid problems affect the feet? Share them with us in the comments section below!
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