Are my feet killing me?

Pakistan Observer - - KARACHI CITY -

MY FEET are killing me!” is a com mon phrase we hear. But could it be true? Maybe not quite, but prob­lems with the feet can in­di­cate a more se­ri­ous con­di­tion in an­other part of the body that may need med­i­cal at­ten­tion. Re­flex­ol­o­gists and pro­po­nents of foot mas­sage around the world have long claimed that ma­nip­u­lat­ing points of the feet can im­prove the health of in­ter­nal or­gans. There is lit­tle ev­i­dence to prove this, but it is clear that as­pects of a per­son’s gen­eral health some­times find expression in the feet.

In this ar­ti­cle, we will look at 10 things that the feet can re­veal about the con­di­tion of the rest of the body. The feet bear the weight of the whole body when we stand or walk. The feet con­tain a quar­ter of the body’s bones. Each foot has 33 joints, 100 ten­dons, mus­cles, and lig­a­ments; and count­less nerves and blood ves­sels that link all the way to the heart, spine, and brain.

It is hardly sur­pris­ing, then, that when the feet are out of line, it af­fects the whole body. Keep­ing the feet in good con­di­tion is of vi­tal im­por­tance to our well-be­ing. Mus­cle spasms, com­monly known as charley horses, can be un­com­fort­able, but they can also be signs of de­fi­cien­cies in the body. The spasms can be caused by de­hy­dra­tion. In­suf­fi­cient hy­dra­tion can mean that the mus­cles are not get­ting enough oxy­gen and that there is a lack or im­bal­ance of elec­trolytes or nu­tri­ents, es­pe­cially sodium, cal­cium, potas­sium, or mag­ne­sium. This could be a side ef­fect of di­uretic med­i­ca­tion, which aims to re­duce ex­cess fluid in the body.

If the spasms hap­pen while walk­ing, it could in­di­cate a cir­cu­la­tory prob­lem. Spasms can also re­sult from overex­er­tion, or not stretch­ing enough when ex­er­cis­ing. Fi­nally, the type of shoes might con­trib­ute, for ex­am­ple, chang­ing from flat shoes to high heels. Gout can cause the toe to be red, hot, swollen and ex­tremely painful. Gout is the most com­mon type of in­flam­ma­tory arthri­tis among men. There are around 250,000 sweat glands in a pair of feet, pro­duc­ing around 1/2 pint of sweat daily

It is a type of in­flam­ma­tory arthri­tis that hap­pens when too much uric acid, or monosodium urate, builds up in the tis­sues and flu­ids of the body. As uric acid crys­tals tend to col­lect in the coolest part of the body, gout nor­mally man­i­fests in the big toe, and this is where the symp­toms tend to ap­pear first. Peo­ple who are over­weight or obese, and those with poor cir­cu­la­tion, are more prone. Al­co­hol, a meatrich diet, and some med­i­ca­tions can add to the risk.

Anti-in­flam­ma­tory med­i­ca­tions can help, but re­cur­rent gout can lead to a de­gen­er­a­tive kind of arthri­tis called gouty arthri­tis. Not quite. Cold feet can in­di­cate a range of prob­lems, in­clud­ing poor cir­cu­la­tion, di­a­betes, hy­pothy­roidism, and anaemia. Feet that change colour, from red to white to blue, may be a sign of Ray­naud’s dis­ease, in which blood ves­sels nar­row when the nerves over­re­act to the cold.

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