healthy feet

Why Do My Feet Change Colour?

In Wellness by Alnoor Ladhani, Chiropodist

Have you noticed your feet changing colour, sometimes white, red or a bluish tint? Colour changes in the skin on the feet can be an indication of other health issues going on in your body. Most colour changes in your feet are related to poor circulation, but the causes may vary and may require different types of treatment. Understanding the common causes of this condition can help you seek the medical care you need to protect your health.

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Raynaud’s Disease and Changes in Foot Colour

One cause of colour changes in the feet is Raynaud’s disease. This is a vasospastic disorder that generally affects the hands and feet, causing poor circulation that can create cold feet that change in colour. The disease is named after the French physician Maurice Raynaud who first termed the disease in 1862. According to the Raynaud’s Association, there still is no known cause or cure for this disease, although it is estimated that it affects 5-10% of adults.

Raynaud’s disease is recognized by the contraction of smooth muscles that can restrict small blood vessels supplying the hands and feet. This can be triggered by exposure to cold temperatures or even emotional stress. These bouts of poor circulation are accompanied with cold hands and feet; it can also result in colour changes. A tri-colour change in the feet is often a symptom of Raynaud’s disease – feet can turn from your normal colour to white, then to blue, and finally, to red. The colour change can be also accompanied by tingling, numbness or pain.

Raynaud’s can be the primary disease or a secondary symptom of other health conditions. Often referred to as Raynaud’s phenomenon when it is a secondary symptom, it has been linked to diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, lupus and other diseases. It can also be exasperated by smoking, since nicotine can trigger vasospasms.


Diabetes and Changes in Foot Colour

Another health condition that has been associated with foot colour changes is diabetes. Since diabetes can affect both the circulation and nerves of the feet, one of the first indicators of diabetes is foot problems. Since diabetes can result in decreased blood flow to the feet, the skin can appear pale or bluish in tint due to the lack of circulation. Diabetics need to take special care of their feet and be aware of any changes in colour. Red streaks can indicate an infection, which needs immediate medical attention.


Treating Changes in Foot Colour

If your feet are changing colour, you are most likely experiencing poor circulation that is affecting the appearance of the skin. It may be Raynaud’s disease, a symptom of diabetes or Raynaud’s phenomenon. Protecting your feet with good foot wear and keeping them warm, along with avoiding nicotine are some of the lifestyle changes you can make on your own. However, you should see your doctor to determine the underlying cause of your foot colour changes and address any other health issues that are contributing to your foot issues.

If you suffer from poor circulation that is causing problems such as colour changes in your feet, you need a foot specialist to help you protect the health of your feet. Seeing a chiropodist for regular exams should be part of your wellness routine. At Step by Step Professional Family Foot Care, we can help you manage the symptoms associated with Raynaud’s disease, diabetes and other health conditions that affect your feet. Call us today to schedule your appointment to protect your feet and health.