(NEW YORK) — The average person takes 10,000 steps a day. That is 115,000 miles in a lifetime, enough to circle the globe four times. This puts a lot of pressure on our feet, one of the most overlooked parts of our body. But you might be surprised by how much you can learn about your health just by looking at your feet and why it is so important to take good care of them. Dr. Suzanne Levine, a Board-Certified Podiatric Surgeon and the author of My Feet are Killing Me revealed some hidden health signs in our feet.
Seventy-five percent of Americans will experience problems with their feet at some point in their lives, but they often leave them untreated. These issues should not be overlooked, especially if you know what you are looking for. If you have chipped or cracked nails, this indicates signs of vitamin or mineral deficiencies. Flat feet can be a sign of Raynaud’s disease. Bumps on our toes can be connected to Rheumatoid arthritis. Red ulcers and burning feet can be a symptom of B12 deficiency or diabetes. The coloring, shape and texture of a person’s feet can signal if they have diabetes, wear heels, have poor circulation, or heart problems.
The most common foot ailment is bunions. This slow dislocation of the big toe joint is more common in women and although bunions can be hereditary, they are also caused by wearing ill-fitting or high heeled shoes. Dr. Levine stresses the importance of buying the right shoes. You don’t have to break the bank on custom shoes but do need to find the right fit for you. She also says you don’t have to give up your high heels just yet, but suggests wearing them in moderation by keeping a pair of flats in your bag for walking longer distances.
The feet contain a quarter of the bones in the human body, with 26 bones, 33 joints, 107 ligaments, and 19 muscles and tendons. They are a complex and important part of our bodies and we need to care for them accordingly. Dr. Levine says, “We should treat our feet the way we treat our face. People overlook their feet and they are so very important.” So the next time you visit a doctor be sure that they examine your feet as they can be a roadmap to your health.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio