Can the Foot Predict Disease?

Podiatric surgeons often are the first to detect many systemic diseases. A number of bodily diseases show up in the foot and ankle before the in the rest of the body. Here are a few of these diseases and their symptoms:

Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD): Approximately 8-9 million Americans suffer from PAD, though most are not aware that they have the disease. PAD is a serious condition in which fatty substances called plaque build up in the arteries and can block the flow of blood to the foot and ankle. PAD also can make you at risk for heart attack or stroke. If you answer yes to any of the following questions you may be at risk for PAD: Do your legs get tired with short distance walking? Are your Feet cold? Have you ever been told your pulses in your feet are not palpable? Wounds that heal slowly? Cramps in the legs? Do you smoke?

Every Podiatrist will check the pulses in your feet, but not all general practitioners take the time to check. Be sure to ask them to check at every visit. Dr. Bowman has equipment to test for this disease in his office, and the test is quick and painless.

Diabetes: Diabetes can be a silent disease, and many foot doctors first diagnose this disease in patients. Approximately 25 million Americans have diabetes, but up to 10 million arent aware they have it. Some symptoms to look out for include: odor from you urine, increased thirst, frequent urination, and numbness and tingling sensations.

Do you have diabetic foot ulcers of DFUs that wont heal? DFU is one of the leading causes of amputations in the USA. Your podiatrist is in the business of saving limbs, not losing them, and may prescribe diabetic shoes that will help prevent DFUs if you are at risk. For most patients diabetes can be controlled easily by oral medication or Insulin.

Other diseases: Discolored or cracked toenails can also be an indication of many problems like cancer, vitamin deficiency, circulatory conditions, and/or fungal infections. If there is a dark spot forming on the nail that changes in shape or color, a biopsy should be performed to check for cancer.

The above are just a few examples of major diseases that can be predicted by your local podiatrist. If you have questions or concerns, or think you may have a problem, call Dr. Jeffrey Bowman at Houston Foot Specialists at 713-467-8886. You can also look online at and find many details that can help educate you about these diseases as well as other foot problems.

Category: Foot Health

Tags: Cancer, Diabetes, Foot Problems, Fungus Problems, Overall Health, PAD, Peripheral Arterial Disease, Toenail Problems, Ulcers