Home health and wellness tips Do You Have Happy Feet? Use this 12-point checklist to find out

Do You Have Happy Feet? Use this 12-point checklist to find out

by Vidya Sury November 7, 2012 17 comments
Happy feet - are your feet happy?

Foot health is something we all tend to take for granted.  We assume we have happy feet. Considering they take the weight of our bodies and take us places, it is critical to ensure that they’re in good health. Our family doc always examines our nails and can tell when there is a respiratory problem or even a skin problem!

I recently went to the doc because I had a rash on my ankle that refused to heal. True, I am diabetic but my blood sugar is under control. So I couldn’t figure out what the problem was. It would look like it was healing, and then become active again. Turns out it was because of dry skin. And I also learned that dry skin/eczema can run in the family.

Did you know that our feet can indicate an underlying health issue? Watching out for anything out of the ordinary can help prevent unnecessary pain, stress, and oh yes – those medical bills – not to mention the inconvenience of waiting at the doctor’s clinic. Happy feet need not be the Holy Grail.

Feet include nails and there are signs you should look for, so you can take action.

Here are 12 signs to watch for while checking if you have happy feet

1. You have cold feet

Ah, not that sort of cold feet where you decide against doing something. In this instance, we’re talking about cold toes, often caused by poor blood circulation.  Cold feet are common in smokers, those with high blood pressure or heart disease, or out-of-control diabetes that causes nerve damage. If your feet are cold and you don’t know why it is time to talk to your doctor.

If you wear high heels and have had a tiring day, I would be surprised if you did not have achy feet and fantasized about a nice foot massage. But like me, if you do not wear high heels yet experience constant pain, it could easily be because of a stress fracture.  Maybe you went through an intense exercise session? Like long-distance running,  a game of basketball? And if you have osteoporosis, it is trouble all the way. NOT happy feet!

2. Chameleon toes

I had never heard of these. Apparently, one’s feet can turn from blue to red and back to normal, just like a chameleon. It is called “Raynaud’s disease” where the arteries become narrow. This can also relate to rheumatoid arthritis or thyroid problems.

3. Those heels are killing you

Sometimes, the ligament connected to the heel bone can be swollen and cause sharp pain, especially as you wake up in the morning, get off the bed and your feet take your weight. This is commonly caused due to shoes that don’t fit well, too much exercise, or arthritis.  Oh, a friend of mine had a spur in her heel that gave her hell.  It could also be an infection, tumor, or fracture that is causing the pain.

4. You drag your feet as you walk

Conditions like diabetes or infection, vitamin deficiency, and alcoholism can result in gradual peripheral nerve damage in the feet, where you start to lose normal sensation and have to drag your feet when you walk or experience a change in your gait.

5. Your toes are clubbed

How Halloween-ish. Except it is not a costume prop. It is a painful reality where the shape of the toes changes and the nails turn rounded on top, curving downward. Common causes are lung disease, liver or digestive problems, or infections. It could also just be a genetic problem.

6. Your feet are swollen

Sitting or standing too long, or that long flight can cause this. Pregnant women often suffer from this. It helps to raise your feet and rest them on a pillow.  My feet swell when I am on a long bus ride or when I sit for too long. As I said, putting those feet up on a pillow can relieve the swelling. But if those feet continue to stay swollen, it is a sign of bad blood circulation, lymphatic system issues, or blood clots. It can also point to a kidney or thyroid dysfunction.

I’d say it is time to see your doc and whatever he suggests, do some independent research of your own to learn more.

7. That burning sensation

Those with diabetes are familiar with that burning sensation in their feet due to slow nerve damage, but this can also be due to a vitamin deficiency, athlete’s foot, chronic kidney disease, poor circulation in the legs and feet, or hypothyroidism.

8. When those sores refuse to heal

Foot sores that do not heal could be a warning of impending diabetes. As those suffering from diabetes will attest, this silent killer prevents wounds from healing, causing blisters that could get infected. If you have diabetes, take extra care to keep your feet dry and clean. Who wants fungus? Definitely not happy feet!

9. Your big toe hurts….

Gout can cause the big toe to pain and swell, but so can osteoarthritis. Sportspeople who play on hard surfaces tend to develop a hurtful big toe and injuries around the toe joint. Ouch!

10. …and so do your small toes

Pain in the small toes usually begins at the ball of your foot, spreading to the toes. This could mean an injury or pressure on those toes. There is a thickening of tissue around the nerve between the third and fourth toes and this is more common in women than in men. Yes, life is unfair.

11. Itchy feet

Another common complaint caused by fungal infections is called athlete’s foot, especially in men. But itchy feet can also be due to an allergic reaction to cosmetics. If the skin is thick, it could be psoriasis, which is an immune system problem and is usually treated with a topical cream to relieve the itch.

12. Toenails that don’t look . . . normal

Toenail color and shape are pretty good indicators of your overall health – you have probably noticed your doctor examining your nails. Look for these:

  • Yellow toenails: fungal infections, inflammation in the lymphatic system, lung problems, or rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Spoon-shaped toes: an iron deficiency.
  • Whitish nail:  an injury or illness.
  • Sometimes the nail may separate from the nail bed when there is an injury or infection.
  • If your nails are intact but white, the underlying cause could be liver disease, congestive heart failure, or diabetes.
  • Depressed toenails or toenails that are pitted indicate psoriasis.

Hmm. Who would have thought feet and nails could play such a significant role in our health?

Good foot care, particularly if you have a predisposition for diabetes, is a must if you want happy feet. If you see something unusual and persistent, don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor. Why suffer?

Do you have happy feet

Some quick foot care tips for happy feet

  • Keep those feet clean. Wash with soap and then, dry well, especially between the toes.
  • Trim your nails regularly
  • Keep your feet moisturized
  • Wear shoes that fit comfortably
  • Don’t wear wet shoes
  • Attend to cracked heels
  • Exercise
  • Pamper your feet

Stay healthy!

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Mayura De Silva November 7, 2012 at 3:00 pm

Hi Vidya,

Wonderful information dear 🙂 I didn’t search more about this though once my grandma told me feet reflect about us.

It’s really wonderful 🙂 Oh blimey… Seems I can relate to some signs, and now wish me to be healthy 🙂 (Well, I don’t wear heels though)


afterthekidsleave.com November 7, 2012 at 3:23 pm

Thanks, Vidya, that’s very interesting information!

vanita November 7, 2012 at 3:35 pm

Girl I had that ankle rash too. Dry skin. But guess what brought it on? I got into the habit of sitting with one foot folded under me at the desk, on my canvas desk chair. The fabric of the chair irritated the dry skin at the ankle. Made me miserable for weeks. I still sit like that but I wear socks now. LOL

Harleena Singh November 7, 2012 at 6:29 pm

Loved the info shared Vidya – all about feet!Yes indeed, my feet also swell up whenever they hang for too long, and if I don’t raise or put them off, they pain a great deal. Some known ones in my family have blood pressure too, and that’s another reason why they swell up.My Mom used to say that if you want to relax your feet, soak them in lukewarm water with a little salt added to it, and that does help.Thanks for sharing. 🙂

Found In Folsom November 7, 2012 at 7:02 pm

Very good info.. I get cramps in my feet often.. 🙁

Vidya Sury November 7, 2012 at 7:04 pm

It is likely to be a calcium deficiency – why not check with your doc? I get it too 🙂

Sandra /Always Well Within November 7, 2012 at 10:25 pm

How fascinating! It’s interesting that your doctor is so attentive to the signs from your nails. I’ve heard that ridged nails can be a sign of digestive distress. My feet definitely hurt when I stand too long. I’m going to apply some of your smart remedies and take better care of my feet!

Betsy at Zen Mama November 8, 2012 at 4:21 am

This is very good information, Vidya! Thanks! I take very good care of my feet. I never wear heals. I almost always wear tennis shoes because I’m on my feet a lot all day. I do get dry skin and sometime a little itch but mostly I’m very careful. Great post!!

Rahul Bhatia November 8, 2012 at 5:51 am

Great information Vidya:) A small note to add…. all the nodes(nerves) end in feet or hands so regular massage or standing on corrugated ssurfaces helps in improving the nervous system:)

Terri Sonoda November 8, 2012 at 4:50 pm

Very good information, my friend! Thanks for sharing!

Pattu Raj November 8, 2012 at 6:00 pm

Awfully useful post Vidya. Thanks a lot.

Galen Pearl November 8, 2012 at 10:42 pm

Love the title! A comedian, Steve Martin, used to do this ridiculously funny skit on Saturday Night Live where he would dance across the stage like his feet were out of control. He would say that he had happy feet. Always made me laugh!

Great tips here. I go barefoot a lot in the summer, so I need to moisturize and do something about those cracked heels!

My Inner Chick November 12, 2012 at 9:18 pm

you. know. about. everything.

See why I call you my guru?

I had my first pedicure on Mother’s Day. I thought “WHY did I wait so long?”

They must have pedicures in HEAVEN. Xxxxxxx KISssssssssss

Knee Braces January 21, 2013 at 6:38 pm

Great info! I had no clue that your feet could tell you so much!

Matt @ Pickleball November 4, 2017 at 2:19 pm

Great recommendations! I have cold feet due to circulation issues …but a lot of this info on your post was new to me. I totally agree, taking care of your feet is a priority, a lot of people focus on healthy lifestyle (exercise and diet) but then just ignore their feet! It’s important to remember that feet are the foundation of the human body. From experience I know that if we neglect them it can definitely lead to other health issues.

Mike David December 3, 2018 at 10:23 pm

Great info! I had no clue that your feet could tell you so much!

Laura December 7, 2018 at 3:23 am

This is a good information to take care of our feet. I am really happy to have found this post and that we can become aware of the importance of foot health. One of the conditions that we must prevent is plantar fasciitis. Thanks for the post 🙂


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