Systemic Diseases of the Feet

Systemic diseases affect the entire body, rather than a single organ or body part. When a patient presents with a systemic disease, they may also exhibit foot and ankle symptoms. Some of the most common systemic diseases that affect the feet and ankles include peripheral artery disease (PAD), peripheral neuropathy, diabetes, arthritis, and gout. 

Peripheral artery disease is a condition caused by a buildup of plaque in the arteries that supply the lower limbs. This causes the arteries to narrow and harden, thereby reducing blood flow to the feet and ankles. Though often asymptomatic in its early stages, people with PAD can develop symptoms as the disease worsens. These may include pain in the lower limbs, cramping, numbness, tingling, difficulty walking, discoloration, hair loss, and wounds. 

Peripheral neuropathy refers to nerve damage in the lower limbs. This condition is often accompanied by diabetes. Symptoms of peripheral neuropathy include numbness, a pins and needles sensation, sharp, throbbing, or burning pain, muscle weakness, and difficulty walking. 

Diabetes affects blood sugar. When blood sugar levels in the body are too high, multiple organ systems and biological processes are damaged. Diabetics often develop poor circulation, peripheral neuropathy, and a weakened immune system. Together, these problems can lead to wounds forming on the lower limbs. Because of neuropathy, the wounds may go undetected until they have become serious. Poor circulation means that the wounded tissues do not receive enough nutrients to heal properly, leading to slow and poor healing. Meanwhile, a weakened immune system could make the wound more likely to become infected. Proper wound care is a must for people with diabetes. 

Arthritis is a condition characterized by damage to the lining of the joints. There are various different types of arthritis, but the symptoms are similar. Arthritis can cause joint pain, stiffness, swelling, redness, and inflammation that makes it difficult to retain your mobility. 

Gout is a type of arthritis caused by urea crystals lodging themselves in your joints. These crystals aggravate the joint, leading to sudden and intense pain, swelling, and inflammation. 

If you are living with a systemic disease that affects your lower limbs, it is strongly suggested that you are under the care of a chiropodist. 

Connect With Us