Should you worry about sore or swollen feet?

Your feet may sometimes be a bit of an afterthought, but podiatrists say they often reveal life-threatening health conditions.

The Australian Podiatry Association (APA) says having your feet checked regularly by a podiatrist could save your life.

APA research shows an alarming number of life-threatening conditions, unrelated to feet, are regularly identified by podiatrists during examinations.

Almost two in five Australians (39 per cent) had life-threatening health issues identified by their podiatrist, including circulatory problems (33 per cent), diabetes (25 per cent), gout (23 per cent), heart problems (11 per cent) and other health issues (7 per cent).

Foot pain (59 per cent) was given as the number one reason people visited a podiatrist in the first place.

The condition of your feet can provide an early indication of conditions such as diabetes, arthritis or circulatory disease. For this reason, the foot is sometimes called the ‘mirror of health’.

APA member and podiatrist Charlotte Bodell says that foot pain can be symptomatic of a much more serious health issue that podiatrists are trained to assess.

“Seeing a podiatrist could ultimately save your life, as our recent research shows,” she says.

“We often see patients who have no idea they have an underlying health issue, other than experiencing foot pain. People may not realise just how powerful the foot is when it comes to assessing serious underlying health condition.”

The research also showed a significant number of Australians headed to their GP first when experiencing foot pain, rather than to a podiatrist. Ms Bodell says that number is too high.

“Our research showed that one out of five (20 per cent) of Australians sees a GP for foot pain, despite podiatrists being the foot health experts and available via Medicare to all Australians.

“Podiatrists are experts in foot health, they know and help you understand and manage your feet so they can support you in leading a happy and healthy life.”

When was the last time you had your feet checked by a podiatrist? Will you go more regularly now? Let us know in the comments section below.

Also read: Should you be worried if your hands and feet are cold all the time?

Brad Lockyer
Brad Lockyer
Brad has deep knowledge of retirement income, including Age Pension and other government entitlements, as well as health, money and lifestyle issues facing older Australians. Keen interests in current affairs, politics, sport and entertainment. Digital media professional with more than 10 years experience in the industry.


  1. Try getting into see a podiatrist. Live in a town with nearly 6000 people. We have to travel 130km to a podiatrist, if you can find one that is taking on new customers, or if you can wait a minimum of 3 months. Medical services in the remote and regional areas is a disgrace.

    • Yes agreed. There are far too many problems for us residents in country towns because bad policies leave us without essential services. There are ways these services can be provided if government makes the effort.
      For example it is possible to make more smaller homes available in country towns where more are needed. Just requires a bit of planning.

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