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ImageIt may sound ridiculous at first, but our feet which more often than not we love to overlook, can speak volumes about a person.s health.

Doctors suggest that you can detect everything from diabetes to nutritional deficiencies just by examining the feet. So, don't ignore the signs!

Toenails with indentations
A common issue for women, anaemia or iron deficiency often can be indicated by unnatural, concave shaped toe nail beds. This is due to insufficient haemoglobin. Internal bleeding or heavy menstrual periods can be a trigger. Nails may also be brittle and the feet may feel cold. Fatigue is the number-one sign of anaemia, as are dizziness and headache.

Constant cramping of feet
A sudden foot cramp can be due to improper exercise or even dehydration. But if it is recurring, it could mean that your diet lacks sufficient calcium, potassium or magnesium. Pregnant women are especially vulnerable to this.

A sore that won't heal on the foot
This could be an indication of diabetes. High blood glucose levels lead to nerve damage in the feet, which means that minor scrapes and cuts often go unnoticed. Study your feet carefully for foul-smelling cuts that have been there awhile. Other symptoms of diabetes include persistent thirst, constant need for urination, fatigue, extreme hunger and weight loss.

Cold feet
Cold feet is an especially common complaint among women and may indicate a thyroid problem. Women generally have a slightly lower core body temperature than men, which makes them more vulnerable. Females over 40 who have cold feet often have an underfunctioning thyroid, the gland that regulates temperature and metabolism. Poor circulation is another possible cause.

Thick, yellow toenails
Yes, the nails do tend to lose colour as you age but this is a vital sign of a fungal infection and unkempt nails. Onychomycosis can persist painlessly for years. Nails may also smell bad and turn dark. Those most vulnerable are diabetes patients and those with immune-deficiency disorders.

Enlarged big toe
This is mostly a sign of gout and contrary to popular perception it doesn't just affect the old. Gout is a form of arthritis that's caused by too much uric acid. The built-up uric acid forms needle-like crystals. Men in their 40s and 50s are especially prone to this condition.

Numbness in feet
If you are unable to 'feel' your feet or have a heavy pins-and-needles sensation, it could indicate damage to the peripheral nervous system. This could occur due to diabetes or excessive intake of alcohol.


Dry, flaky skin
If you are prone to dry skin, don't take this lightly. You could contract athlete's foot, a fungal infection that starts as dry, itchy skin that then progresses to inflammation and blisters.


Toes that change colours
In cooler weather, Raynaud's disease causes the toes to first go white, then blue, and finally appear red before returning to a natural hue. The blood vessels in these areas overreact, causing the change in colour. They also feel cool to touch and go numb. Stress can be a trigger of Raynaud's attacks.

Pain in feet while walking
Foot pain could be a result of undiagnosed stress fractures. Discomfort can be felt along the sides of the feet or in the soles. Fractures may be caused by a decrease in optimum bone density or some kind of malnutrition.
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