When we see a patient we always collect an initial detailed history of medical conditions, and not for no good reason. There is a good reason that we need that information. The medical condition may cause symptoms in the foot. The medical condition may affect the choices that we have to deal with your foot problem. The drug you are on may have side affects that show up in the lower limb. There is a good reason for asking all that information and plenty of things that can affect the foot and the treatment choices of foot problems.

The thyroid gland is in our neck and secretes some hormones that help control our body’s metabolism. At first glance is probably is not hard to wonder what that might have to do with the foot! It has plenty to do with the foot.

For those who are lacking some of the thyroid hormone (hypothyroidism), the skin can be dry and make heel fissures more common. There may be some symptoms in some of the joints that might feel like a common form of arthritis, but are an effect of the lack of the thyroid hormone. The nails my become easily ‘looser’. Some of the tendon reflexes do not work as well and do not relax well after you hit the Achilles tendon (this is called Woltman’s sign). There could be some nerve damage that can cause the feet to get some pins and needles and even go numb. If you are on treatment for hypothyroidism with the drugs, then these problems are less likely to occur, but we need to look out for them and consider them when there is a foot problem.

This is just the affects of a low thyroid hormone, but serves as a good illustration as to why we need to know about your medical history.

Craig Payne Administrator
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