When your feet unexpectedly change colour to appear more yellow, it’s no surprise that you may feel concerned. While some causes may be indicative of something more serious happening behind the scenes, other causes can be addressed with some simple changes or a visit to your podiatrist.
Today, the My FootDr team have shared the top four reasons that you may have noticed your feet yellowing.
Calluses, whether it’s limited to a small area or is covering the bottom surface of your feet, is a build-up of tougher, dead skin. It’s actually the result of your body trying to protect itself from damage – developing in response to excess pressure to your skin that may otherwise cause it to break.
While some callus may look rough and dry, potentially leading to cracked heels, other areas can feel rubbery and have a yellow appearance. It’s the oxygenated blood being transported through our arteries and capillaries that gives our skin its healthy colour, and thick calluses obscure and cover this over resulting in thickened yellow patches.
2. Your diet
Anaemia and carotenemia can both result in a yellowed skin appearance. In anaemia, you don’t have enough red blood cells that are able to carry enough oxygen to the tissues in your body. As a result of insufficient haemoglobin in red blood cells, the lack of blood cells in general and the general diversion of blood cells to vital organs instead of the skin surface, the skin can take on a pale, yellow appearance.
In carotenemia, high levels of carotenoids in the body cause the palms and soles of the feet to yellow. This may be a result of excessive and prolonged consumption of carotene-rich foods (typically orange coloured foods such as carrots), or it may be from diabetes, liver, kidney, thyroid and cholesterol issues where the body struggles to get rid of the carotenoids as bodily waste.
When our blood vessels constrict and restrict the blood flow to our feet, our feet can quickly turn pale and yellow. This is what happens in Raynaud’s, with the primary causes being exposure to the cold, as well as emotional stress. This presentation tends to be much patchier than the other causes of yellow feet, affecting patches at the tops and bottoms of the feet.
When your blood cells break down naturally in the body, they produce a waste product called bilirubin. When excess bilirubin builds up in your body, that’s when you notice the yellowing of your skin, as well as other parts of your body.
Jaundice is a potentially serious condition requiring a visit to your GP, as it is often associated with other underlying problems like infections, liver failure and more. If you’re worried about jaundice, check the whites of your eyes – these often turn yellow when you have jaundice.
What about yellowing toenails?
If it’s your toenails that are showing yellow discolouration, then our #1 cause is a fungal toenail infection. Fungal infections worsen over time without treatment, and you’ll quickly notice your toenails turning yellow or white, becoming brittle, crumbly or thick, and even lifting up and separating from the base of the nail.
Worried about your feet?
If you have any concerns about your feet, are noticing changes, or are having foot pain, our team are here to help. My FootDr has clinics around Australia dedicated to helping you stay healthy on your feet, so you can lead your best life. Book your appointment online by clicking here or call us on 1800 FOOT DR.