Here Are 5 Signs of Liver Problems Visible in The Feet, According to A Doctor

Written by Henrik Rothen

Jan.13 - 2024 2:27 PM CET

Photo: Shutterstock.com
Photo: Shutterstock.com
Here Are 5 Signs of Liver Problems Visible in The Feet, According to A Doctor.

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Dr. Eric Berg, a successful author and YouTube video creator, has listed some symptoms of liver problems that you can see in your feet. "Show me your feet, and I'll tell you if your liver is healthy."

This somewhat far-fetched phrase could, however, summarize a recent video posted by Dr. Eric Berg on his YouTube channel, which has 11 million subscribers, and was noticed by the French media Sante Magazine.

The doctor and author of health and nutrition books listed some liver signs that would be visible in the feet, prompting a consultation.

"You can get a lot of clues by looking at certain parts of the body, especially the foot, to understand what's going on inside," says the doctor at the beginning of his video, however warning about the importance of consulting a doctor for a real hepatic diagnosis.

Brown spots and visible veins on the feet

Often associated with diabetes, the presence of red or brown spots on the feet can be an expression of liver problems.

"If someone has cirrhosis, hepatitis, or even severe hepatic steatosis, the circulation is often so poor in the lower part of their body that you will see these little reds and a kind of rusty brown color, maybe sometimes small points or scaly pigments that look a bit like bruises," indicates the doctor. He specifies that these symptoms result from coagulation problems, themselves linked to hepatic function.

Note that cirrhosis and other liver issues can cause what is called spider angiomas, that is, an abnormal visibility of subcutaneous veins, but these are not specific to the feet.

Itching

Again, this is not a symptom specific to the feet, as the whole body can be affected by itching in case of liver problems. The skin itches when the hepatic function is no longer able to properly eliminate different biliary substances, in particular bilirubin, which then accumulate in the blood and deposit under the skin.

Moreover, the feet can itch due to fungal infection, people with liver problems being more prone to mycoses in the feet and toenails.

Dry and cracked heels

It's less obvious, and yet, according to Dr. Berg, having dry and cracked heels could indirectly indicate liver problems. Explanation: "the liver produces bile and bile helps you break down and absorb fat-soluble vitamins as well as fat-soluble nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids. But in case of poor liver function, we do not produce the amount of bile we need to extract omega-3 fatty acids. It can also be a deficiency in vitamin B3 that can lead to pellagra," or a vitamin B3 deficiency resulting in completely cracked and reddened skin, on the feet, but also the hands, calves, neck, etc. Note that this is a very rare deficiency and an advanced case of liver problems.

Unhealthy nails

Nail dystrophy (deformation of the nails), onychomycosis (nail fungus), leukonychia (discoloration of the nail), onychorrhexis (fissure of the nail), and other clubbed nails... These can be, according to Dr. Berg, the afflictions of toenails revealing a liver pathology.

Remember that other symptoms, not related to the feet, can indicate a tired or sick liver, such as yellowing skin or eyes, edema especially in the legs, or persistent and/or unexplained fatigue. It is still best to consult quickly if several of these symptoms appear and settle over time, in order to perform the usual examinations (interview, palpation, ultrasound, analyses, biopsy, etc.).

The summarized video can be found below.

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