Believe it or not, your feet are more important to your body than you’d suppose. We don’t often think about our feet, usually only when experiencing cramps or stubbed toe. But, your feet can tell you a lot about the rest of your body. In fact, your foot pain can signal a serious condition.

Does Foot Pain Signal a Serious Condition?

There are three serious health conditions which emit telltale signs through the feet: peripheral arterial disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and diabetes.

Peripheral arterial disease or PAD affects about 8 million Americans. In short, it is a condition in which plaque collects in the leg arteries, restricting blood flow. Symptoms include cramping in the legs and calves when walking.

Rheumatoid arthritis affects 46 million Americans, of those, 90 percent will first feel symptoms in their feet and ankles. Rheumatoid arthritis is triggered by the immune system — attempting to fight-off disease. Pain begins in the toes and spreads through the feet and ankles. Unfortunately RA can distort the shape of feet and ankles.

Diabetes affects 24 million Americans and approximately 6 million are unaware of having the condition. Diabetes causes glucose build-up, damaging nerves, generally beginning in the feet.

While it’s common to experience some level of discomfort in the feet at the end of the day, severe foot pain shouldn’t be ignored. It could signal a serious condition.