Thyroid Awareness Month is here! This month’s blog explores the connection between hypothyroidism and the feet.
Are you suffering from any of these common foot conditions often associated with hypothyroidism?
- Fungal Infections
- Dry or Cracked Heels
If so, check your thyroid gland. Feet are sensitive and can indicate a problem occurring in other parts of the body.
Hypothyroidism or underactive thyroid is a condition that affects the entire body and may cause several symptoms such as depression, weight gain, and lower metabolism. The disease is caused by reduced thyroid hormone levels (thyroxine) in the body.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you may suffer from hypothyroidism. Other signs of hypothyroidism include hair loss, dry skin, fatigue, constipation, muscle aches, and stiffness. The symptoms are often mistaken for other conditions such as menopause or chronic fatigue syndrome. Still, the problem is that hypothyroidism can lead to serious health problems if left untreated.
Fungal Infections caused by Hypothyroidism
The most common foot conditions associated with Hypothyroidism are fungal infections. Fungus can affect any part of the body, but it is often more prevalent in moist areas, such as around the feet.
Fungal infections are caused by dermatophytes which attack dead skin cells. People with an under-active thyroid are more susceptible to fungal infections due to their decreased immunity.
The fungus most prevalent in the human body is Trichophyton rubrum which can cause tinea pedis (athlete’s foot). This condition occurs when the skin of the feet becomes thickened and scaly; it can also cause blisters and burning.
People suffering from hypothyroidism are more likely to develop athlete’s foot due to decreased immunity, leading to skin problems.
Edema in the feet and Hypothyroidism
Edema is a condition where fluid builds up in the lower legs and feet. Edema can lead to swelling of the ankles, making walking difficult as this condition restricts movement. People with edema have to elevate their legs as much as possible because it helps reduce fluid retention.
Fluid retention also causes pain in the lower extremities because of poor circulation. Additionally, people with hypothyroidism often experience skin dryness, making them more likely to suffer from edema than those without thyroid problems.
As well as difficulties walking and pain in the lower extremities, people suffering from edema may also notice itchy skin or even blisters on their feet if they have diabetes.
Hypothyroidism and Cracked or Dry Heels
Hypothyroidism causes skin problems which can lead to cracked heels. The condition is often caused by a decrease in the skin’s natural oils, usually produced by sebaceous glands.
Severe dryness, or hyperkeratosis, means that dead cells on the surface of the feet cannot be adequately replaced and accumulate, becoming thick, hard, and dry.
This is often accompanied by the formation of calluses or corns on the feet that are usually caused by repeated pressure (such as when wearing shoes).
People suffering from Hypothyroidism are more likely to suffer from cracked heels, fungal infections, and edema. These foot conditions can be avoided or relieved if the person suffering from Hypothyroidism follows an excellent skin-care routine, such as moisturizing their feet and wearing comfortable shoes.