What do your feet tell you about your health?

They can indicate the presence of neuropathy, vitamin and mineral deficiencies and more.


Step-by-step, you depend on your feet. If you’re like most people, your feet will carry you more than 99,000 miles during your lifetime. That’s equivalent to four times around the earth.

Not only are your feet built to go the distance, but they are also great health barometers. Your feet contain:

  • nearly one-quarter of the bones in your body
  • approximately 100 muscles, ligaments and tendons
  • miles of blood vessels and nerves that travel to and from your brain, spine and heart

Peek at your feet for a quick check on your health.

Tingling and numbness in your feet can be caused by activity and long periods of standing or sitting. However, if that pins-and-needles feeling and numbness do not coincide with your recent activity, you may be suffering from peripheral neuropathy.

Cramping in your feet may result from dehydration or intense exercise. But, if there is no logical reason for the cramping or if the cramping occurs at odd times, it may be a sign that you are deficient in calcium, potassium or magnesium.

Pain in the joints of your toes, feet and ankles may signal a stress fracture or rheumatoid arthritis.

If your big toe is swollen and occasionally painful, you may have gout. Often your big toe is the first place gout’s arthritis-like pain is felt. Uric acid, which causes gout, collects in joints with the lowest body temperature. Since your feet are the greatest distance from your heart, they are often cooler than other parts of your body.

If you frequently experience pain or sensations in your feet that are not readily explained by your recent activities, it may indicate another health condition. You should call (920) 996-3700 to make an appointment with a podiatrist or your primary care clinician.

Acension Orthopedics and Sports Medicine Center

Madison Center at Ascension St. Elizabeth Hospital
1531 S. Madison St.
4th floor
Appleton, WI 54915
(920) 996-3700

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1506 S. Oneida St
Appleton, WI 54915
(920) 738-2000

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