WHETHER you're squeamish about feet or love nothing more than a good foot rub, it's important that you keep them healthy and in check.

Experts have revealed that your feet can say a lot more than if you've had a good pedicure and could reveal if you have a serious health condition.

Our feet are what keep us mobile and while it's easy to cover them up with a pair of socks or fancy shoes, taking a closer look can help relieve any pains or irritability you might be experiencing.

But what should you be looking out for when it comes to foot health? Here experts talk us through several conditions and what they really mean.

Cracked heels

Cracked heels can be unsightly and most mild cases can go away with over the counter balms and creams.

Experts at footcare brand Flexitol say that for most people cracked heels aren't serious, but state they can become painful if left untreated.

The experts said that in severe cases, cracks can become so deep that they bleed.

"This can be very painful in itself, but more importantly can expose us to the risk of infection.

"After all, our feet are our main contact with the world, including dirty gym floors, sweaty shoes and all kinds of other breeding grounds for bacteria."

They added however that for some people, cracked heels can be more serious.

"That includes those with underlying medical conditions where there is more risk of severe skin damage or infection, for example those with diabetes. In these cases, it is always best to speak to a doctor."


Bunions are very common and are often the cause of tightly fitted shoes.

One expert however said they are linked to serious health conditions.

Speaking to MailOnline podiatrist Dina Gohil said the most common cause of bunions is actually genetics.

She did however warn that the condition has also previously been linked to arthritis.

She added: "The exact cause is unknown the most common factors include genetics, narrow tight fitting footwear, high impact activities, flat feet, arthritis, trauma or injury, and neuromuscular conditions. 

"There is no reversal of the pathology, but maintenance and pain reduction methods include wearing footwear with enough space in the front, good mid foot support, exercises to keep the joint flexible, and toe separators or splints."


Colder temperatures mean that it's likely that most of us have been reaching for our fluffy slippers and socks.

While the issue of cold feet can usually be solved by wrapping up warm, the NHS states that it could be a symptom of Raynaud's.

It is a conditions that effects your blood circulation.

The NHS stated: "When you're cold, anxious or stressed, your fingers and toes may change colour."


If you've got yellow toe nails then it's likely that you're suffering from a fungal infection.

Dr Dawn Harper previously said that yellow nails could simply be the result of over doing it with nail paint.

However, thick discoloured nails could indicate a fungal infection.

If this is the case, you may find your nails also become more brittle, change shape and are painful.

Dr Harper says: "Your GP will probably want to send some nail clippings to the lab for analysis to confirm this before prescribing antifungal paint or tablets."

If you notice what looks like a bruise under the nail but don’t remember injuring it, it is important to get this checked out as sometimes a skin cancer can develop under the nail and this needs urgent assessment and treatment.


Experts say that calluses, like bunions, can be a sign of ill-fitting footwear.

It is also linked to bone rubbing, obesity and diabetes.

Calluses usually occur when the skin tries to protect an underlying area from injury, pressure or rubbing.

While they aren't dangerous they can cause irritation.

Dina said calluses can also be caused by an imbalance and misalignment in your body.

This she said can be linked to pain in your lower back, knees, ankles and in some cases your neck.


The NHS says most cases of swollen feet go away on their own – but if they don't then you should see a GP.

Swelling in the feet can be caused by a build up of fluid – this is called oedema.

It's important you keep an eye on the swelling as the NHS states that oedema can be caused by a range of issues including:

  • an injury – such as a strain or sprain
  • an insect bite or sting
  • problems with your kidneys, liver or heart
  • a blood clot
  • an infection.

The NHS says that it's important to see your GP if you're suffering and think you might have a serious health issues.

Throughout the pandemic it has reiterated that the NHS is open and can see patients.

Most surgeries are currently offering a triage service and a doctor will be able to advise you on your health issues.

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