In today’s program Dr. Reminga, from Northern Foot Care Center, talks about thyroid dysfunction and the effects it can have on your feet. The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located in the middle of the lower neck. This thyroid gland is responsible for a wide range of body activities. For example, the thyroid gland releases hormones and regulates many aspects of your health such as; your breathing, heart rate, central and peripheral nervous systems such as hands and feet, body weight, muscle strength, body temperature, menstrual cycle, cholesterol levels and much more. If you’re a woman over 35, your odds of having a thyroid disorder are quite high. More than 30% according to some estimates. Women are also 5-8 times more likely to have a thyroid problem than men and 1 in 8 women will likely develop a thyroid disorder during her lifetime.

Why are so many affected by thyroid disease? The role of the thyroid gland is so wide-ranging and intricate that it continues to surprise and amaze medical researchers. So, how does thyroid disease affect our feet? Hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid, can lead to several types of foot pain, including joint and muscle pain brought on by swelling in the feet, ankles and legs. Swelling in the muscles of the foot can place pressure on the nerves. The joints can become still and inflamed, leading to joint disease known as arthropathy. People with hypothyroidism can also develop tarsal tunnel syndrome in the feet. Tarsal tunnel sometimes develops as a result of a pinched nerve or muscle damage in the foot. It causes burning and a tingling pain sensation most common in the arch of the foot although the pain can occur throughout the foot. Grierson-Gopalan syndrome also causes foot pain with hypothyroidism. A more common name for this condition is “burning feet syndrome”. The feet ache and the skin temperature actually elevates.

Another side effect of hypothyroidism is dry cracked heels. This results when the under-active thyroid gland under-regulates the sweat glands in your feet which can cause thick, leather-like dryness, deep cracks or painful fissures on the heels of the feet. Another condition that is linked to thyroid dysfunction is cold feet and hands. The thyroid controls overall metabolism. When thyroid function is low, metabolism slows down, which then lowers the temperature of the entire body which leads to cold hands and feet.

Listen to find out more about more about this interesting subject. Dr. Reminga is a board certified foot and ankle specialist with over 30 years of experience. If you have any type of foot or ankle problem, Dr. Reminga can help.

Dr. Daniel Reminga's Weekly Radio Show "Your Feet Your Health" airs every Wednesday at 10 am & 5 pm on WKMJ 93.5FM, WMPL 920AM, WUPY 101.1FM radio. Listen to past recordings here.