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Many health conditions can be identified by an examination of your feet, conditions that you didn't know you had. When symptoms occur in the foot, it can identify a potential medical issue.

Here are a few of those examples:

Melanoma - The deadliest form of skin cancer can pop up on your feet — on the sole, especially in people with darker skin tones, and even on the toenails. Unlike other forms of skin cancer, melanoma is not as likely to develop in high-sun areas that might have experienced severe sunburns. And also unlike other forms of skin cancer, it can develop on depigmented parts of the body, such as the sole of the foot.

Squamous Cell Cancer – This can present on the fingertip, nail or nail matrix. It can look like anything from an ulcer on their fingertip to just a malformed nail.

Cold Feet – This could be a sign of poor circulation, or Raynaud's, a condition that causes some areas of the body to feel numb and extremely cold in response to cold weather or even stress. Raynaud's is a pathological level of vassal constriction.

Athlete's Foot – A scaly, red rash between your toes is the hallmark symptom of Athlete's foot, a fungal infection, but you can also get itching and burning symptoms. The infection is contagious, but can typically be treated with over-the-counter medications.

Clubbing in the Nails – This can be a sign of heart or lung disease, two of the top causes of death in the United States.  This happens when there's a reduced amount of oxygen in the blood and is marked by softened nail beds, red and/or bulging fingertips, and a downward curve of the nail.

Tingling or "Pins and Needles" in your Feet – This can be a sign of nerve damage from diabetes — one of the dangerous complications of the condition. This type of neuropathy occurs when blood sugar levels are not properly maintained; over time, the excess of glucose in the bloodstream wreaks havoc on the nervous system.

Dr. Charles Birk is a Diplomate, American Board of Podiatric Surgery and a Fellow of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons as well as certified in Ultrasound Diagnostic Technology, and Board Certified in foot surgery.  To learn more about treatment of the feet, go to www.DoctorBirk.com or call 609- 465-1644 for an appointment.  Dr. Birk has 2 locations in Cape May Court House and Beesleys Point, NJ.

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