Why Are The Bottom Of My Feet Yellow? How To Know What’s Going On

barefoot yellow

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You’re back from your beach vacation, and it’s time to share your pictures on Instagram. That one where you’re stretched out on a lounger with a mimosa looks amazing. But as you zoom in, you see something that makes you scream so loudly that both your kids wake up and start crying at the exact same moment. "What’s going in? Why are the bottom of my feet yellow?" You scream.

And nope, it’s not just the sand.

In fact, you could have had yellow feet from even before you went on vacation. A lot of us develop yellow feet for different reasons – and not all of us notice it until it becomes, well, noticeable.

So, Why Are The Bottom of My Feet Yellow?

Here’s the good news. It’s most likely nothing to worry about.

Of course, "most likely" isn’t exactly a helpful answer. So let’s break it down further.

What Usually Makes Feet Turn Yellow?

wet feet

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Your feet endure quite a lot of pressure every day. They’re literally bearing all the weight, after all. And all that pressure, especially if you’re physically active, often leads to the formation of calluses at the bottom of your feet.

Calluses are basically thick patches of dead and discolored skin that form at the heels and balls of your feet. They may be hard and waxy-looking, or they may be dry and flaky. They’re harmless, and you should only treat them if their appearance troubles you.

A great way to get rid of flaky or hard skin on your feet is with an Epsom bath. Essentially, you soak your feet in a tub of warm water into which you dissolve some Epsom salts. These salts contain magnesium sulfate and help to exfoliate and smoothen your feet.

Another common culprit behind yellow feet is jaundice. When your body produces too much of a pigment called bilirubin, not all of it gets removed as waste. That’s when it starts building up in your bloodstream and in other parts of your body – like your feet.

If you have jaundice, you’ll likely notice yellowness in several places. A tell-tale sign is the whites of your eyes turning yellow. It’s best to see your doctor and get tested for bilirubin right away so that any underlying causes can be detected early.

A third answer to "why are the bottom of my feet yellow?" could be a build-up of carotenoids. These are naturally occurring compounds in several foods, and some health conditions like diabetes or high cholesterol could cause them to build up in the body. Again, it’s important to consult a doctor as soon as possible so you can get the right treatment for the underlying cause.

Could My Diet Cause The Bottom Of My Feet To Turn Yellow?

cooked vegetable

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You might be thinking that some sort of junk food is the culprit. Surprisingly, eating too many fruits and vegetables might be responsible for your yellow feet!

Carotenoids are present in foods like pumpkins, carrots, sweet potatoes, and citrus fruits, and too much of those could cause carotenemia, which leads to yellow feet.

Don’t worry, though. Just reduce your intake of these fruits and vegetables and you’ll be fine. But that’s certainly a lesson worth noting – there is, apparently, such a thing as too many fruits and vegetables!

Should I Be Worried?

woman worried

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On their own, yellow feet are usually nothing to worry about. You might even want to check whether the yellowness comes from some sort of staining or dirt. If it's not external, the most common cause is a build-up of dead skin.

Yellow feet occasionally point to deeper health conditions, such as jaundice, high blood fat levels, liver disease or heart conditions.

However, those illnesses usually present along with more symptoms, such as fever, fatigue or yellowness in other body parts. So if you're wondering "why are the bottom of my feet yellow?" it's likely nothing serious if it's just your feet.

What If My Child Has Yellow Feet?

baby feet

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We wouldn’t blame you for panicking if your child’s tender little feet suddenly turn yellow. And when an infant develops yellow feet, it’s almost certainly because of jaundice. Don’t worry too much, though – many babies get mild jaundice from too much bilirubin present in their blood.

While it usually fixes itself within a week, we’d advise you to see a doctor if the feet are strongly discolored. This might be a sign of brain damage or something serious. Even if it isn’t, it’s best not to take chances with your little one’s health – so take your baby to a doctor the moment you feel you should!

In older kids, another cause for yellow feet is lycopenemia. This is another dietary ailment brought on by a food regime heavy in watermelon, tomatoes, guava and pink grapefruit (they really should have told us about the too-much-fruit thing).

Again, it’s a harmless condition and you can easily cure it by controlling how many of these fruits your child eats.

How Do I Get Rid Of Yellow Feet At Home?

feet

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Calluses aren’t that tough to remove – a lot of them even flake off on their own. You can speed up the process by rubbing dead skin with a pumice stone. Soak it in warm water and gently rub off the dead skin with circular or sideways movements.

We’d recommend using a pumice stone like this Gilden Tree foot scrubber, which helps you exfoliate your yellow skin and also buffs it up for smoothness. Remember to apply some lotion or soothing oil on the skin afterward.

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Your local salon can help get rid of yellow feet too. Ask for a paraffin wax treatment, which is basically the application of layers of soft wax which are peeled off after hardening. You can also do it at home using a paraffin wax treatment like this one from Revlon.

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Foot scrubs work really well to get rid of discolored and dry skin, and they often contain healing ingredients that keep your feet soft and smooth.

This natural foot scrub contains tea tree oil that softens the skin. It’s ideal for everything from corns and calluses to athlete’s foot, so you needn’t worry anymore about yellow feet with this in your cupboard.

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Whether you use pumice stones, paraffin wax treatments or foot scrubs, it’s essential to avoid any injuries or sore skin on your feet. Scrubbing those parts could exaggerate the injury and reopen any sores. You could also get skin infections, which would be far worse than just yellow feet.

Do I Need To See A Doctor About My Yellow Feet?

doctor writing

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If only your feet are yellow and home remedies aren’t doing the trick, you might want to visit a podiatrist. This is a doctor who specializes in foot conditions and can prescribe treatments to get rid of tricky calluses or other reasons for the yellowness.

For instance, your doctor may trim off the excess skin that has built up as a callus on your feet. He or she could also recommend a foot patch containing salicylic acid, such as these treatments.

If your feet have an underlying deformity, your doctor could ask you to wear shoe inserts to prevent calluses and corns from recurring.

If you see other parts of your body turning yellow too, you’d do well to consult a doctor at once. You might need to go for tests like a complete blood count and a bilirubin test to detect any diseases. You may also need to get an MRI or a CT scan done, depending on what your test results look like.

Sometimes, yellow feet could indicate something even more critical. If you’re experiencing yellow feet along with symptoms like abdominal pain, black stools or bloody vomit, contact a doctor or emergency unit immediately.

Why Are The Bottom Of My Feet Yellow: Answered

man barefoot

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The bottoms of your feet turn yellow oftener than you realize. Even your daily household chores or your exercise routine could be exerting pressure on your feet and causing dead skin to build up. That’s why curing yellow feet is usually easy and inexpensive.

Even if there’s an underlying condition, like cholesterol or liver disease, don’t panic! You just need to visit your doctor as quickly as possible to get the right diagnosis. There’s a cure for every illness, even for your child, so all you need to do is get an appointment.

So the next time you’re wondering "why are the bottom of my feet yellow?" remember that it’s probably nothing to worry about. And as long as it’s just your feet that are yellow, you can cure it yourself with the right foot scrub or by dialing back on the peppers and pumpkins.

What’s the best remedy you’ve tried for getting rid of yellow feet? Let us know in the comments below.

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