Mercy Podiatric Surgeon Dr. Gary Pichney Discusses What Your Feet Say About Your Health

July 8, 2016
Foot and Ankle Reconstruction at Mercy - Baltimore

When it comes to health, pay attention to feet from the heels to the toes. Feet can reveal some surprising health problems.

Years ago Linda Canestraro noticed a change in her feet and toes whenever they got cold.

"They would turn either white, or blue, or purple, and they would basically go numb, so I couldn't feel them," Canestraro said.

"These outward extremity items, during certain periods of cold temperature and stress, will get white, and then perhaps turn bright red afterwards and there's a phenomenon and disease called Raynauds,” said Dr. Gary Pichney, DPM, FACFAS, of The Institute for Foot and Ankle Reconstruction at Mercy

Dr. Pichney, a surgical podiatrist, said feet can also signal a number of other health problems, including serious ones like cardiac disease.

"That's calcification on the wall of that artery. On the other frame, here it is, the artery that comes down on the top of their foot and we should not be able to see that," Dr. Pichney said.

Other health problems can show up in feet include arthritis, including osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, poor circulation, gout and don't forget the toenails.

"Often times, toenails can change shape, can change size and can have either spoon deformities, looking like a spoon, or will have little pits in them perhaps, or they might have a black line that goes straight through them, or they might be yellow, brown and thick, and each of those different things can indicate perhaps psoriasis condition, perhaps a fungal condition, or even something as scary as malignant melanoma," Dr. Pichney explained.

"Use good common sense, but something has a repetitive pattern, something that you don't remember happening over the years that you've lived. It does no harm to have somebody come and tell you, 'Don't worry about it. It's no problem,'" he said.

View Mercy’s Dr. Gary Pichney’s interview regarding what your feet can say about your health.

Dan Collins - Senior Director of Media Relations at Mercy Medical Center

Dan Collins, Senior Director of Media Relations

Email: Office: 410-332-9714 Cell: 410-375-7342

About Mercy

Founded in 1874, Mercy Medical Center is a university-affiliated medical facility named one of the top 100 hospitals in the U.S. by Thomson-Reuters with a national reputation for women’s health. Mercy is home to the nationally acclaimed Weinberg Center for Women’s Health and Medicine as well as the $400+ million, 20-story Mary Catherine Bunting Center. For more information visit Mercy online at, Facebook, Twitter or call 1-800-MD-MERCY.

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