Experiencing Stiff, Sore Feet? How to Recognize and Address Thyroid Issues
Posted by Jenn F. on Monday, October 13th, 2014
A 45-year-old woman going through menopause found that her feet began to feel very sore and stiff in the mornings. Soon, her finger joints began feeling the same way. Fearing she was developing arthritis, she went to her doctor. After running a blood test, he told her that she was suffering from hypothyroidism — an under-working thyroid gland. He put her on 0.125 milligrams of Levothyroxine and her symptoms went away within a month. According to WebMD, more than 13 million Americans have thyroid problems — and half do not know it. In today’s post, our NY podiatrists give you more details on the sore feet and thyroid connection.
What Does the Thyroid Do?
The thyroid gland is located at the front of the neck and is responsible for the production of hormones that affect the functioning of virtually every organ in the body. Thyroid hormones affect weight gain, sugar conversion into energy, heart rate, and body temperature regulation. If the body produces too much thyroid hormone, you may feel nervous, irritable, unfocused, warm, restless, and suffer from diarrhea. If the body produces too little thyroid hormone, you may feel cold, tired, suffer dry skin and constipation, and you may gain weight easily.
Causes of thyroid problems may include:
– Childbirth (as much as 10% of women who give birth develop hypothyroidism post-natal)
– Hashimoto’s Disease or Grave’s Disease (mysterious autoimmune disorders that cause the body to fight itself)
– Exposure to pollutants like PCBs and Dioxin, radiation, or certain medications
How Does the Thyroid Affect the Feet?
Thyroid hormone is important for nerve function in the feet. Just as diabetics suffer from neuropathy, a loss of feeling in the hands and feet, so can people with thyroid issues develop this complication. Hypothyroidism can slow circulation, causing the feet and hands to feel chronically cold. Wounds on the feet can take a long time to heal when the thyroid is not working properly.
Hypothyroidism may also manifest with symptoms like general weakness, pain, cramping, and stiffness in the feet, arms, and legs. You may simultaneously feel carpal tunnel in your wrist, fingers, forearm, or hands due to a swelling of the membranes, which compress a nerve in the forearm. Similarly, a nerve in the leg can cause pain, tingling, burning, or aching along the bottom arch of your foot.
In cases of hyperthyroidism, your feet may feel weak and fatigued all the time — even if you are not walking or standing a lot. Climbing stairs and gripping objects with your hands may be particularly painful. Some people report difficulty swallowing or lifting their arms over the head.
NYC Foot Pain Treatment
Typically, you will be referred to an endocrinologist if you do, in fact, suffer from hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism. However, our NYC podiatry clinic can help you get the right diagnosis and treat your foot pain symptoms. We can prescribe medication and take you through an in-house physical therapy program, or refer you to acupuncturists and massage therapists. We also offer innovative pain relief therapies like Extracorporeal shockwave therapy. For your convenience, you may book your appointment with us online.
If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine. Dr. Josef J. Geldwert, Dr. Katherine Lai, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Mariola Rivera have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.