Toenail Pain [Toenail Fungus, Ingrown Toenails, Discolored Toenails]

Why are the bottom of my feet yellow or orange?[ Yellow soles of feet]

So “why are the bottom of my feet yellow?” We review why my feet are yellow, yellow soles of feet & yellow skin on the bottom of my feet meaning!

Why are the bottom of my feet yellow or orange
Why are the bottom of my feet yellow or orange? The most common causes are thick skin called a hyperkeratosis. This means that there is a large buildup of skin that starts to look yellow. There are more dangerous causes that may need to be assess as well. Look below.

Why is the bottom of my feet yellow or orange?

It is a condition in which there is a yellow discoloration of feet or soles. Sometimes only the toe or sole is discolored, or it may involve the whole foot.

In the article below, we review both the dangerous and the relatively safe causes of yellow soles of the feet and how to get rid of yellow feet!

Why are my feet yellow?

Yellow skin on the bottom of feet signs and symptoms:

Along with the yellowish discoloration of a part or whole of the feet, one may experience the following signs and symptoms if the cause is a systemic condition:

  • Headache
  • Fever


  • Fatigue
  • Lethargy
  • Weakness
  • Chest pain or palpitations on exertion


  • Sensitivity to cold temperature
  • Weight gain
  • Increased sleep


  • Skin thickening
  • Skin discoloration

Liver disease:

  • Itching
  • Decreased appetite (anorexia)
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Bleeding
why do my feet look yellow
If specific areas of your feet or hands look yellow, this could be thick skin. It could also be pigmentation, yellow feet due to liver disease or callus and corn formation.

Yellow hands and feet causes:

  • There are many causes of yellow discoloration of the feet, and most of the causes are nothing to worry about.
  • But it may become significant if severe yellowish discoloration occurs, indicating a systemic condition.
  • Possible causes of Yellowish discoloration of feet are:

Yellow callus on the feet:

  • It is an area of thick, hard & dead skin and may involve a part of feet or a whole of the bottom of feet.
  • Due to Friction and Pressure experienced by the feet, the skin thickens and hardens to compensate for the opposing forces on the feet.
  • Oxygenated blood reaching via arteries and capillaries gives color to the skin. Due to skin thickening and hardening, this color is obscured, causing yellowish discoloration of the feet.
  • Signs and symptoms of callus formation include:
    • Usually Painless but may become Painful
    • Thickened dead skin
    • Skin discoloration
    • Dry, flaky, and rough skin
    • Waxy-appearing skin.
  • Causes of Callus formation are:
  • Poorly fitting foot-wears
  • Standing or sitting for longer duration/ Excessive Pressure on the foot
  • Wearing high-heeled shoes.
  • High arched foot
  • Obesity
  • Bunions
  • Abnormal gait
  • Any Surgery of the foot
  • Treatment includes:
    • Regularly soaking feet in warm water followed by scrub or exfoliation by a pumice stone. Avoid excess scrubbing as it can cause open sores and infections
    • Paraffin wax treatment
    • Medications to remove callus from foot such as Salicylic acid
    • Electrocautery or Radio-frequency
    • Laser removal
    • Surgery
  • Prevention can be done by:
    • Wear properly fitting shoes and socks
    • Avoid tight foot-wears
    • Wear socks to reduce the friction experienced by the skin
    • Regularly wash, exfoliate and moisturize the skin of feet.
    • Use protective shoe pads.

Yellow spots on the feet:

  • Yellow spots on the feet are most commonly called corns and calluses.
  • These begin to look yellow because the skin is very thick and begins to detach from the skin eventually.
  • This thick and dry skin can cause pain and can be a food source for bacteria and fungus.
Yellow feet corn vs wart vs callus
Three common lesions can occur on your feet that make your feet look yellow. These are yellow feet due to calluses, corns and less likely but possibly a wart.


  • After the breakdown of red blood cells in the body, a yellowish waste substance called ‘bilirubin’ is produced. It goes into the liver and is secreted in urine and stool, thus removing it from the body. This cycle is naturally going on in the body.
  • When there’s liver damage or excess breakdown of Red blood cells in the body, bilirubin accumulates in the blood, imparting a yellow discoloration to the skin and sclera(white part of the eye).
  • Signs and symptoms of liver damage can be:
    • Anorexia(decreased appetite)
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Abdominal pain
  • Bruises etc
  • Causes of jaundice can be:
    • Hepatitis
    • Gall bladder stones
    • Obstruction of bile duct
    • Liver failure
    • Cirrhosis
    • Medications such as steroids, contraceptives, penicillin, etc
    • Herbal medications

Cause of jaundice in newborns:

  • Physiological Jaundice: If the baby turns yellow immediately after birth and color changes to normal within a period of 2 weeks, it is normal/ physiological and nothing to worry about. The discoloration is usually mild and limited to the eyes and upper half of the body.
  • Pathological Jaundice: If yellowish discoloration of baby’s skin appears 24 hours after birth and does not settle in 14 days with clay/white-colored stools and urine stains, the clothes are yellow. The most common areas of yellow discoloration are cheeks, eyes, palms, and feet. It is pathological as there are increased bilirubin levels in the blood due to hemolysis (red blood cells breakdown). It requires medical treatment because high levels of bilirubin can cross the blood-brain barrier and lead to permanent damage of the brain called ‘kernicterus’ in medical terms.


  • In newborns, Phototherapy or specific light treatment to get rid of excess bilirubin.
  • In adults, the cause is treated, e.g., if acute viral hepatitis is the underlying factor, then anti-viral treatment is started.
  • The doctor may prescribe iron supplements to increases oxygenation of body tissues.
  • If there’s an obstruction to the bile duct, surgery is recommended
  • Treatment of jaundice upon the cause and needs to be treated immediately by a healthcare professional.


  • Lack of healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to body tissues is called anemia. More oxygen is supplied to vital organs instead of peripheries as a compensatory mechanism, resulting in a pale/ yellow discoloration of eyes, face, hands, and feet.
  • Signs and symptoms of anemia include:
    • Lethargy
    • Weakness
    • Nausea
    • hair loss
    • brittle nails
    • headaches
    • clay or rice cravings
    • Chest pain or palpitations on exertion
  • Causes of Anemia can be:
    • Decreased RBC(red blood cells) production: Iron deficiency anemia, Bone marrow failure, kidney diseases (due to lack of hormone: erythropoietin), etc
    • Increased blood loss: due to Haemorrhage, Gastrointestinal bleed, Gynaecological disorders, worm infestation, cancers, etc
    • Increased RBC destruction: hemolytic diseases, Thalassemia, Sickle cell anemia, drug-induced hemolysis, etc
  • Treatment includes:
    • Dietary change including increase intake of leafy green vegetables, fish, liver, beef, etc
    • Intravenous iron therapy in severe iron deficiency
    • Blood transfusion in severe anemia
    • In children, Specific Treatment is required if the underlying cause is malabsorption.
    • Correction of the underlying cause of blood loss
  • Prevention can be done by:
    • Eating a healthy diet such as fruits and vegetables
    • An eating a diet rich in iron, such as green leafy vegetables
    • An eating a diet rich in Vitamin B12, such as beef


  • High levels of carotenoids in the blood, usually above 30mg per day, are called carotenemia.
  • Carotenoids are a normal part of a healthy diet and contribute to natural skin color.
  • Carotenoids are present in many bright-colored fruits and vegetables. Carotenes leave the body through urine, stool, sweat, and sebum.
    • Foods rich in carotenoids include:
      • Orange vegetables, such as carrotssweet potatoes, squash, pumpkin, etc
      • Green vegetables such as Spinach, broccoli, kale, peas, cucumber, lettuce, parsley, etc
      • Fruits such as apricot, mangoes, papaya, cantaloupe, peaches, prunes, etc
      • Citrus fruits
      • Food items with high carotene are milk, eggs, butter, and palm oil.


It occurs due to excessive or prolonged consumption of carotene-rich foods or If there’s under-secretion of carotenoids from the body, causing their accumulation in the body leading to yellowish discoloration of the skin, most of the palms and soles of feet.

  • Causes of carotenoids under-secretion  are:
    • Yellow feet diabetes.
    • High cholesterol.
    • Hypothyroidism:

There’s decreased conversion of carotene to vitamin A in hypothyroidism and associated hyperlipidemia and hypercholesterolemia, leading to carotenoids build-up in the blood.

  • Kidney problem:

In diseases affecting kidneys, such as glomerulonephritis and nephrotic syndrome, serum carotene levels may become markedly raised.

  • Liver problem:

There’s decreased conversion of carotene to Vitamin A in liver disease or liver injury, leading to carotenemia and yellowish discoloration.

Less common causes of carotenemia are:

  • Inborn errors of metabolism:

Carotenemia can sometimes occur due to an inborn error of metabolism failing to convert carotene to vitamin A thus causing carotenoid accumulation in the body.

  • Anorexia nervosa:

There’s a defect in the conversion of carotene to vitamin A associated with hypercholesterolemia


it may result from a normal intake of dietary carotene in the presence of a decreased bodily requirement.

  • Systemic amyloidosis:

Systemic amyloidosis may be associated with hyper-carotenemia with prominent carotenoderma

  • Treatment:

It isn’t a severe disease and can be corrected by cutting down foods in a diet rich in carotene. If the underlying cause is a systemic condition, seek medical help.

  • Yellow toenails:
    • Yellowish discoloration involving only toenails and is worsening without treatment usually indicates a fungal infection.


  • Signs and symptoms include:
    • Nail thickening or cracks
    • Nail discoloration
    • Brittle, crumbly, or ragged
    • distorted shape
    • Smelling slightly foul
    • pain from shoe pressure due to the thickened nail.
  • Treatment includes:
    • Topical and oral antifungal medications such as terbinafine or itraconazole
    • Laser fungal toenail removal
    • Surgery



 Following fruits and vegetables also cause yellowish discoloration of the skin if eaten in large quantities for a long time, and discoloration disappears after eating.

  • Turmeric
  • nutritional supplements
  • pumpkin
  • Pepper
  • Squash
  • sweet potatoes
  • green vegetables
  • citrus fruits


  • A condition with high lycopene levels in the blood.
  • In older children/kids, Another possible reason for the yellowish discoloration is lycopenemia. It is a condition similar to carotenemia because it is also related to dietary intake. If children excessively and long consume foods rich in lycopene, yellowish discoloration may develop on the palms and soles of feet.
  • Foods rich in lycopene are:
  • Tomatoes
  • Beets
  • Chilli beans
  • Berries
  • pink grapefruits
  • watermelon
  • apricots
  • Treatment:

This condition is harmless, and Lycopenemia settles one’s dietary consumption of lycopene-rich foods is stopped, and the discoloration is reversed.

Raynaud’s phenomena:


  • It is a genetic disorder of blood vessels in which exposure to cold or emotional stress constricts the blood vessels, mostly affecting the toes and fingers.
  • When blood flow to the skin is restricted, it may become yellow and pale and forms patches of discoloration at the top and bottom of the feet and hands.
  • Signs and symptoms can be:
    • Color changes on exposure to cold: first pale, then blue(cyanosis), and then red.
    • Numbness
    • Tingling(paresthesia)
    • Brittle nails
  • Treatment includes:
    • Medical; Vasodilators/drugs that dilate the blood vessels to regulate normal blood flow
    • Surgical; Nerve surgery/sympathectomy

in severe cases to avoid blood vessels constriction(vasoconstriction)

  • Complications include:
    • Ulcers
    • Gangrene
    • Amputation
  • Prevention includes:
    • Maintain body warmth
    • Reduce exposure to cold by wearing gloves
    • Avoid stress
    • Avoid tobacco, alcohol, caffeine, and cocaine
    • Meditation techniques such as yoga and exercises to relieve stress
    • Avoid medications such as beta-blockers, ergotamine, stimulants such as amphetamines, etc

Too much turmeric:

Some research has shown that high doses of turmeric can cause yellow discoloration of the soles.

This is considered to be a more rare cause:

Yellow feet secondary to Tumeric are generally non-dangerous, but this can lead to some associated yellow in the hands and feet.

Turmeric is a mild spice that people often use medicinally for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. The most active compound in turmeric, curcumin, is a bright yellow pigment.


Trinitrotoluene Poisoning:

 It is an explosive chemical called Trinitrotoluene(TNT). TNT contains volatile nitro-groups, which, when reacting with melanin(the natural pigment that gives color to the skin), cause yellow discoloration.

  • Handlers of this explosive material may experience yellowish discoloration of hands or soles of feet.
  • Signs and symptoms of TNT poisoning:
    • Yellow or orange discoloration of the skin
    • Dermatitis
    • Irritation of eye, nose, throat, and skin

High exposure can cause:

  • Weakness
  • Headache
  • Anemia
  • Liver damage
  • Central nervous system damage
  • Treatment includes:
    • Removal from the source to avoid further exposure
    • Removal of clothes
    • Washing the skin with soap and mild exfoliation as this poison can also absorb slowly through the skin.
    • No specific antidote is yet available
    • The doctor may treat the patient symptomatically

When to see a podiatrist?

The yellow discoloration is sometimes mild and settles with time, but if it is:

  • associated with a systemic condition
  • isn’t improving. Rather worsening with time. Seek medical help immediately to avoid possible complications.

Signs and symptoms pointing to a systemic condition can be:

  • Fever
  • Abdominal pain
  • Chest pain
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pale stools and dark urine
  • Dark stools/blood in stools
  • Altered sleep-wake cycle
  • Sensitivity to cold
  • Weight gain
  • Increased sleep
  • Decreased appetite.
  • Blood in vomiting.
  • Bleeding from nose, mouth, or rectum
  • Easy bruising to the body
  • Confusion or drowsiness

Whom to see?

If there’s a yellow discoloration of the feet, you can visit a doctor or a podiatrist. But podiatrist is the one who is uniquely qualified among all healthcare professionals and specifically trained in treating all foot conditions.

How is it diagnosed?

The doctor will take a careful history to determine the causative factor and perform a physical examination to reach a diagnosis at the hospital. The doctor may order some investigations to confirm the diagnosis.


  • Age of patient
  • Duration
  • History of foot trauma
  • Occupation
  • Diet history
  • History of Fatigue, lethargy, or weakness
  • Types of shoes you wear daily
  • Any previous history of a systemic disorder

Physical Examination:


The doctor will perform a detailed physical examination to check the areas of discoloration and any other physical findings to reach a diagnosis.


To confirm the diagnosis, the doctor may order the following investigations :

  1. Complete blood count
  2. Serum bilirubin levels
  3. Liver function tests
  4. Blood glucose test
  5. Thyroid function test
  6. Beta carotene levels
  7. Lipid profile/Cholesterol levels
  8. Ct-scan
  9. MRI

How to get rid of yellow feet?

At home:

Following home remedies may prove beneficial in treating yellowish discoloration of feet:

  • Limit consumption of carotene-rich fruits and vegetables
  • Consume fruits and vegetables rich in iron and Vitamin 12, such as green leafy vegetables, liver, beef, fish, etc
  • Drink excess water and juices such as cranberry juice to help flush out the toxins circulating in the body.
  • Eat a fiber-rich diet to regulate digestion. It also aids in lowering blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
  • Apply topical zinc or Vitamin E on areas of discoloration.
  • In fungal infections of toenails, apply diluted tea tree oil.
  • If the cause of discoloration is Corns or calluses:
  • Epsom salt soaks: Soak feet in warm water with some Epsom salt for 15-20 mins twice daily. It will soften the skin, then Scrub with a pumice stone. After scrubbing, wash your feet with soap, dry thoroughly and apply moisturizer. Avoid excess scrubbing as it can cause skin damage and infections. This remedy will remove calluses if done regularly.
  • Baking soda: It is used as a natural exfoliating agent. In a tub of warm water, add 5 tablespoons of baking for 15 mins twice daily and then scrub with a pumice stone. Wash feet with a mild soap, dry well, and moisturize.
  • Garlic: Garlic has antibacterial and antifungal properties. Take a clove of garlic and cut it into two. Rub one piece on soles of feet daily at night. Wait for it to dry, and wrap the area with a bandage. Wash this area in the morning. Repeat application until the discoloration disappears
  • Chocolate Weed Leaves and Turmeric: Turmeric is an antiseptic, and Chocolate weed leaves are tropical plants found in wasteland regions. It is found in soybeans, cotton, and rice plantations. Take a handful of chocolate weed leaves and a spoonful of turmeric powder, combine well and grind. Apply the mixture to the bottom of the feet. Repeat daily for 7 days. They both may help in treating yellowish discoloration of the feet.

At hospital treatment:

See a healthcare professional if the condition:

  • doesn’t improve with home remedies
  • there are associated systemic disease
  • if it is worsening with time.
  • If discoloration is due to corns and calluses which are too thick to remove by home -remedies doctor may perform:
  • salicylic acid treatment
  • Electro-cauterisation
  • Laser removal
  • Surgery
  • Anemia:
  • a diet rich in iron( green leafy vegetables)
  • vitamin b12 (beef, liver) is advised to treat yellow discoloration.
  • If anemia is severe Intravenous injections of RBC substrates or blood transfusions may be advised.
  • For jaundice:
    • underlying cause such as hepatitis needs to be treated by antivirals
    • Calamine lotion for itching
    • Surgery if bile tract is obstructed
    • In cirrhosis, specific medical treatment is required by a healthcare specialist.
  • Fungal infections: If the cause of discoloration is a fungal infection, the doctor may prescribe:
    • topical or oral antifungals such as terbinafine or itraconazole etc
  • Respiratory diseases such as lymphedema need to be treated by a pulmonologist.
  • Trinitrotoluene poisoning: If the cause of discoloration is TNT poisoning: there are no home remedies, and treatment is done at the hospital.
  • Removal from the source
  • Removal of clothes
  • Skin is washed with soap and water
  • The doctor may give symptomatic treatment
  • There’s no Specific anti-dote yet available to treat TNT poisoning.


How to prevent Yellow discoloration of Feet?

Dietary and lifestyles changes are required to prevent feet yellowing:

  • Maintain good foot hygiene: Wash feet regularly with a mild soap, dry well and then moisturize.
  • Keep toenails clean, dry, and trim straight across. Avoid curving the edges.
  • Wear properly fitting footwear. Avoid tight shoes, socks, and high-heeled shoes.
  • Avoid going out or in the sun barefoot.
  • Eat a healthy diet enriched with iron and Vitamin B12
  • Avoid excessive intake of fruits and vegetables rich in beta carotene
  • Eat healthy and low-cholesterol foods
  • Avoid exposure to poisonous substances and irritants
  • Examine feet daily for injuries and skin changes, cuts, redness, swelling, corns, calluses, or nail changes such as thickening, discoloration, cracks, brittleness, etc
  • If you have diabetes, then regularly monitor your blood sugar levels and get your feet examined by a doctor for ulcers or any signs of nerve damage.
  • If you’re suffering from any associated systemic condition, regularly visit your doctor to avoid possible complications.
why are feet yellow on the bottom

Frequently Asked Questions:

Can yellow feet come from diabetes?

Diabetes can be associated with yellow feet from the conditions caused above, such as increased callus formation and diet changes.

What do yellow feet mean?

We go into detail above about the causes of yellow feet, and generally, for most people, the most common cause is thicker foot skin and yellow feet callus formation.

The bottom of my feet are yellow?

This is most commonly due to thick skin to the bottom of the foot and yellow callus formation. As the skin gets thicker, it can naturally turn more yellow?

Bottom of feet yellow, what does it mean?

This generally is associated with thicker skin formation and natural thick skin color. Thicker plantar skin can be more of a yellow color or orange color. Most of the time, this is not anything dangerous, but always see your podiatrist if worried!

Why do I have yellow skin on my feet?

Usually, these are the formation of thickness, fissures, and thick skin on the bottom of the feet.

Yellow skin on feet?

We list the most common causes above, but this is likely that thick callused skin is too plain. This is usually the cause.
Exfoliating and treating the thick calluses and thick skin is the key!

Why do I have yellow heels on my feet?

This callused skin (called hyperkeratosis) is usually to blame. Learning to exfoliate your thick skin and seeing a podiatrist can be the key to feeling better!

Yellow spots on the bottom of feet?

Specific yellow spots on the bottom of the feet can be due to corns and hyperkeratosis formation. This can turn further yellow due to the conditions noted above. See a podiatrist if worried!

Why are my feet yellow on the bottom?

The most common causes of the feet turning yellow at the bottom are due to a condition called hyperkeratoses. But it is also possible to have anemia, jaundice, and other causes develop.

Yellow feet due to liver?

Yellow feet due to the liver can be due to a condition called jaundice. We explain why jaundice causes yellow feet above. But associated liver problems can lead to this issue.
In our experience, this is only a problem in very unhealthy people with liver problems, but always see your podiatrist if worried!

Why do my feet look yellow?

The #1 cause of yellow feet is thickened skin called hyperkeratosis. The second most common cause of this thick skin is a condition called porokeratosis. This means that there is a plugged sweat gland, and this can be a corn. It is also possible to have yellow feet due to liver disease and yellow feet due to anemia and other diet changes.

Yellow spots on feet?

Yellow spots on the bottom of the feet are usually called corns or calluses.

Why does the bottom of my feet look yellow?

The most common answer to this question is thickened skin and skin changes that lead to yellow feet. It is also possible to have liver issues and dietary changes such as anemia or increased pigment in the skin, although this is less common.

Yellow hands and feet symptoms:

Yellow hands and feet are usually associated with dietary changes, liver changes. If it is just on one foot or one small area, this could be thickened skin or callus or corn formation.

How to get rid of yellow skin on your feet?

The best answer to getting rid of yellow skin on the feet is to see your podiatrist treat corns callus and hyperkeratotic tissue. It is also essential to get a good diagnosis by do not see a podiatrist.

Yellow blisters on the bottom of feet?

Yellow blisters on the bottom of the feet may be a more significant condition. This could be secondary to an athlete’s foot or fungal infection, leading to blister pain. It is recommended to receive podiatrist care in these situations.