Thick, yellow toenails

If one or more of your toenails starts to thicken, change color, and separate from the skin, it probably means you have a fungal infection living beneath the toenail. People with diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and other immune deficiencies may be more susceptible than others in contracting toenail fungus. The solution: See a podiatrist or internist for care and treatment.

An enlarged big toe

If your big toe suddenly blows up, you may be experiencing gout. This medieval-sounding disease is actually a form of arthritis and is caused by the buildup of the natural substance, uric acid. Why the big toe? The excess uric acid forms in the body part with the lowest temperature, which just happens to be your big toe.

Numbness in both feet

Having a persistent “pins and needles” feeling in your feet, or actual loss of feeling, can be a sign of peripheral neuropathy. Peripheral neuropathy means there’s been some damage to your peripheral nervous system and can be caused by several things, but the most common are diabetes and alcohol abuse. The solution: See your doctor and explain your symptoms.

Toenails with spoon-shaped indentations

Sunken toenails could be a sign of anemia. Anemia often shows up in toenails with concave or spoon-like indentations in the toes’ nail beds, and is most prevalent in moderate-to-severe cases. To be sure, your doctor will want to do a complete blood count.

Foot cramping

Sudden, one-off instances of foot cramping may just mean you’re dehydrated or exercising too hard, but if you have chronic foot cramping, you may be lacking calcium, potassium, or magnesium in your diet. If you experience frequent cramping, try stretching your feet before bed and eating more calcium-rich foods.

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