Foot problems are not an uncommon complaint. After all, many people work at jobs that require them to stand for long hours. But foot problems can also be a sign of underlying disease. Here are some symptoms that could be letting you know it's time to see a foot specialist

Numbness and Tingling

Diseases like diabetes and multiple sclerosis can affect the sensations you feel in your feet and toes. Both of these diseases can cause nerve damage. One or both of your feet may feel numb or you may have a painful, pins-and-needles sensation. Alcohol abuse, vitamin deficiencies, and thyroid issues may also cause numbness and tingling. 

Pain and Swelling In the Big Toe

Intense pain in your big toe that comes on suddenly, especially at night, may be gout. Your toe may be red, swollen, and so painful that even draping a sheet across it causes agony. Gout is caused by the accumulation of urate crystals in the joint.

These needle-like crystals form when you have too much uric acid in your blood. This may be due to an underlying kidney disease, but more often it is the result of a diet high in purines. Purines are chemical compounds found in seafood such as sardines, scallops, and tuna; red meat and organ meats like liver; soda; and alcohol, especially beer. 

Restless Feet and Legs

If you feel a compelling urge to move your feet and legs as soon as you sit down to rest in the evening or lie down to sleep at night, you may have an odd syndrome that doctors aren't entirely sure of the cause yet. You may feel a crawling or throbbing sensation within the foot or leg itself, compelling you to move. This can be disruptive to a good night's sleep as well as your partner's rest. 

This condition may be genetic, exacerbated by pregnancy, indicative of kidney disease, or due to an iron deficiency. 

Swollen Ankles

Most people get swollen ankles occasionally, but if it's a regular occurrence for you, this could be a sign you have high blood pressure. If you spend a lot of time on your feet, you are at increased risk of cardiovascular disease. When a person has high blood pressure, their heart is working overtime to circulate blood throughout the body. Liver or kidney disease as well as pregnancy may also cause swollen ankles. 

If you are having problems with your feet or lower legs, be sure to see your doctor or foot specialist for further exploration.