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Are Your Feet Warning You of a Thyroid Problem?

Hypothyroidism is a condition in which your thyroid gland is unable to produce enough of certain essential hormones. This condition doesn’t always have obvious symptoms in the early stages. However, if left untreated, it can cause several health problems over time. And because January is Thyroid Awareness Month, today Dr. Hubert Lee at CarePlus Foot & Ankle Specialists in Bellevue, WA, explains how your feet may warn you of a problem with your thyroid. 


Dry cracked feet accompanied by calluses: Studies have shown that the majority of people with hypothyroidism reported coarse, rough, dry skin, particularly on their feet. 


Itchy feet: Itchiness can be present all over the body (not just the feet), including the scalp, legs, and even the genitalia, caused by dry skin.


Cold feet: When thyroid function is diminished, circulation is reduced, and the skin may receive as little as one-fourth to one-fifth of the normal blood supply. Our lower extremities, including our feet, are especially vulnerable to poor circulation, particularly in cold seasons. 


Swollen feet: Kidney dysfunction, diabetes, skin infections, and heart disease are some common problems to be considered when a patient presents with swelling of feet and legs, but the likelihood of hypothyroidism should also always be considered. 


Foot cramping and pain: Joint, nerve, or muscle pains are not usually thought to be primary symptoms of hypothyroidism, but comprehensive thyroid testing should be conducted on every single person who presents with fibromyalgia or chronic pain.


Foot Infections: Predisposition to infections of the hands, fingernails, toenails, and feet develops in both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism, including fungal infections and Athlete’s foot.


Feet smell bad: One of the typical symptoms of hyperthyroidism is extreme sweating, including the feet, and the sweat is a breeding ground for bacteria that can make feet stink.


Yellow soles: A buildup of beta-carotene in hypothyroidism collects in the outer layer of the skin, including the soles of the feet and the palms of the hand.


Toenail changes: Too much and too little thyroid hormone can cause abnormalities of the nails, both the toenails and fingernails.


Your feet can reveal a lot about the health of your thyroid, often years before a thyroid diagnosis. To find out if your thyroid is causing problems with your feet, contact the office of Dr. Hubert Lee at CarePlus Foot & Ankle Specialists in Bellevue, WA today at (425) 455-0936 to schedule a consultation.

Dr. Hubert Lee

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