5 Signs of Potential Disease in Your Feet


Your feet are often the “first responders” of diseases or other issues in your body. You might notice a small change in your feet and think little of it, but it’s important to keep an eye on any rapid changes. Here are a few things that you might not think twice about, but could be signs of diseases:

  • Small red lines under your toenails – These red lines under your toenails can appear because of broken blood vessels, known as splinter hemorrhages. When small blot clots form, they damage the tiny capillaries in the nail bed, which can signal a heart infection. People who already suffer from heart conditions have a pacemaker, or who have suppressed immune systems, are at high risk for this type of heart infection. If you notice tiny red lines under your toenails, check in with your podiatrist, as this type of heart infection could lead to heart failure.

  • Clubbing of the feet – Clubbing of the toes and fingers is often associated with lung cancer, chronic lung infection, heart disease, or intestinal disease. People with lung cancer or heart disease have decreased vascular resistance, which means their blood flow to the toes and fingers increases. This causes tissues to swell, which results in a clubbed look.

  • Pitted toenails – If you notice tiny holes, ridges, or grooves in your toenails, this could be a sign of psoriasis. Most people who experience nail psoriasis also have skin psoriasis, so this is not a common solo-issue. Still, it is important to have your nail issues checked out.

  • Spooned nails – People with anemia or lupus often have a spoon-like depression in their toenail, deep enough to hold a water droplet. Spoon-shaped nails can indicate a deficiency or even an overabundance or overproduction of iron, Raynaud’s Disease, and sometimes even lupus. Occasionally infants have spooned nails, which normalize in their first few years.

  • A straight line under your nails – A dark vertical line underneath your toenail could be a sign of skin cancer. This line often appears in acral lentiginous melanoma or hidden melanoma.

If you have any of the above symptoms or any other noticeable changes in your feet, it’s important to see your podiatrist. Dr. David R. Sullivan here at Westfield Foot and Ankle, LLC, is experienced in the needs of feet throughout every stage of life. If you’re concerned about your child’s foot health, call us. Our office utilizes state-of-the-art diagnostic techniques and cutting-edge technologies to treat any foot or ankle woes. You can reach our conveniently located Westfield, IN office at 317-896-6655.