Now is the season to … SHOW YOUR TOES!

The summer season is upon us, lending good reasons to take off your shoes and SHOW YOUR TOES. It could be taking a walk on a sandy beach or kicking back in a favorite chair by the pool with your feet up. No matter what the reason may be, the AAWC is highlighting a very important reason for you to take your socks and shoes off this month and show your toes

Please JOIN THE AAWC as we celebrate this month by showing your toes through candid photos as you learn more about different arterial and vascular diseases that can be detected through the current condition of your feet. We encourage you, your friends and your family to join this important effort.
Share photos of toes and feet all month long, along with this article to bring awareness to the importance of allowing your doctor to inspect your feet and toes at each visit. Use the following hashtags with each post and share as many photos of as you wish: 
  • #showyourtoes
  • #sockitTOEme 
  • #saveyourtoes
 Use this link if you would like for us to post your photos for you:

Why Show Your Toes?

According to The American Heart Association (AHA), removing one’s socks and shoes to allow the doctor to check the feet for sores, skin color changes and numbness, might just save the limbs or life by detecting issues that are often hidden without this inspection. Underlying problems often present on the feet first. Early detection of abnormal signs leading to disease might help prevent any irreversible conditions. 

Why you need to show your toes:
  1. Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) affects approximately eight and a half million Americans (per the American Heart Association). PAD narrows the arteries to the legs, stomach, arms and head within the upper and lower extremities. This narrowing of the arteries, called atherosclerosis, is caused by plague (fatty deposits) buildup in the arteries which prevents oxygen from moving through the arteries to get to other vital organs, including the skin.

    Symptoms may include cramping, pain or weakness in the legs while walking, climbing stairs or other types of exercise that require more blood flow through the limbs. These symptoms stop when the extra demand from exercise stops or the body is at rest. NOTE: Nearly half of the patients diagnosed with PAD do not show any symptoms, yet show functional impairment when tested. Thus, several people are walking around undiagnosed! 

  2. Other diseases or conditions that can be detected are diabetic foot ulcers and peripheral neuropathy (burning, stinging or numbness of the feet and toes), plus any sensation that makes one feel off balance. A doctor can test for diminished sensation in the feet and toes.

  3. Coronary artery or heart disease is noticeable with skin color and texture changes [skin could become shiny, tight and discolored] thereby helping your doctor diagnose the cause.

    Other signs that arterial narrowing could be present is a lack of hair and nail growth along with atrophy in the muscles of the lower extremities and feet.

  4. Your doctor has many tests that can help evaluate your condition so you can receive treatment that may protect you from progression of disease or relieve symptoms. 
If symptoms are not typical and persist when at rest (called “rest pain”), a doctor may be able to help avoid a more serious issue that could lead to the loss of a limb, so showing your toes is vital!
Arterial or vascular disease high-risk factors include high blood pressure, diabetes, or habits such as smoking or poor diets high in fats that elevate cholesterol levels. Other common risk factors include: sex, ethnicity, older age and renal insufficiency; and sometimes pregnancy complications.

Several tests are available to diagnose disease. During an exam, your doctor will perform the following:
  • Check for weak pulses
  • Listen for poor blood flow in the legs
  • Examine and look for any problems on the legs and feet, including hair loss, cold or pale skin and nail growth
Your doctor might also order the following tests/procedures:
  • Blood tests to test cholesterol levels, triglycerides and blood sugar levels
  • Ankle-brachial index test (a vascular test to compare blood pressure in the ankle with the blood pressure in the arm, thereby detecting PAD)
  • Doppler ultrasound to locate those areas with reduced blood flow (blockages) in leg arteries
  • Angiography imaging using contrast dye to specifically locate any blockages

Join the AAWC in helping bring awareness for cardiovascular health and overall quality of life when you SHOW YOUR TOES!

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