By Dr. James DiResta, DPM, MPH
June 03, 2021
Category: Foot Conditions
Tags: Thyroid Disease
The thyroid gland releases and regulates hormones and is responsible for everything from heart rate to peripheral nervous system functions. So, you may be surprised to discover that this same disorder that may make you feel tired and brain foggy can also cause changes in your feet. In fact, your feet may be trying to alert you that something might be wrong with your thyroid.
You have dry, cracked feet
While we know that there are a lot of reasons why someone might have dry, cracked feet including being on your feet all day, long-distance running or winter weather, your thyroid might also be playing a role. Many people with hypothyroidism, an underactive thyroid, complain of dry, cracked skin on the soles of their feet, particularly the heels. You may also notice that you get deep, painful fissures or that your skin seems almost leathery in thickness and appearance. This could be a sign to have your thyroid checked.
Your feet (and hands) always seem cold
Since your thyroid is responsible for your metabolism it’s not too surprising that an underactive thyroid slows the metabolism, which in turn causes the body’s temperature to drop. This is why you notice that your feet and hands always seem to be cold to the touch. You may notice that this problem is made worse during cold weather. Some people with hypothyroidism deal with a condition known as Raynaud’s phenomenon, in which the feet and hands are so cold that they go numb and turn blue or white.
Your feet are swollen
Again, there are a lot of things that can lead to swollen feet; however, if you notice swelling in your feet and ankles rather regularly then you may want to have your thyroid checked. Since people with hypothyroidism are also prone to developing tarsal tunnel syndrome, which can lead to permanent nerve damage if left untreated, you must have a podiatrist you can turn to for regular care if you have been diagnosed with a thyroid disorder.
If you notice any changes in your feet and you’d like to take a closer look, your podiatrist will be the best specialist to turn to. Should they suspect that a thyroid disease might be at play you can also speak with a primary care doctor for blood work.