There are many reasons why a person may develop yellow feet. Possible causes of yellowing on the bottom of the feet include jaundice, anemia, and calluses.

People with yellow feet may also have thick, waxy, or dry skin areas. In some cases, only the toes or the sole is yellow, while the entire foot is this color in others.

Read on to learn more about six possible causes of yellow feet.

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A callus is a thick, hard area of skin. It can often appear as a yellow, flaky, or waxy patch. Calluses develop on the skin as a response to pressure or friction.

Calluses typically form on the feet, usually due to someone wearing ill-fitting shoes or spending long periods standing or walking.

Calluses are not a cause for concern and do not generally require medical treatment. Reducing friction in the affected area and keeping it clean and moisturized can help speed recovery.

Jaundice is a yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes. It develops when too much bilirubin, a waste product from the breakdown of red blood cells, builds up in the body.

People with jaundice may have yellow feet, but they will also have yellow skin on other parts of the body. They may also experience intense itching.

Jaundice can be a symptom of:

Treatment for jaundice involves addressing the underlying cause. People with jaundice should see their doctor for tests and treatment.

Pale or yellow skin is a symptom of iron deficiency anemia. As the name suggests, iron deficiency anemia is when the body cannot produce enough red blood cells due to low iron levels. It often occurs due to blood loss or pregnancy, but has many causes.

Symptoms include:

People with iron deficiency anemia typically require iron supplements to increase the levels of this mineral in their blood. They may also need to make other dietary changes.

Other treatments may be necessary if blood loss contributes to low iron levels. For example, people who experience heavy menstrual periods can often benefit from oral contraceptives or medical procedures.

Raynaud’s disease, also known as Raynaud’s phenomenon or syndrome, causes the fingers and toes to feel unusually numb and cold in low temperatures or in response to emotional stress.

Under these circumstances, the skin will generally turn white, sometimes appearing yellow. In time, the skin turns blue and then red, which is an exaggerated version of the body’s normal response to cold.

Treatment depends on the severity of the symptoms and the presence of other medical conditions. People with mild symptoms can usually manage them by wearing thick gloves and socks and reducing stress. More severe forms of Raynaud’s disease may require medication or nerve surgery.

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.

In rare cases, high doses of turmeric may cause skin yellowing. Similar symptoms were also found in a 2015 case, although these two presentations are exceptionally rare.

Carotenemia results from high levels of carotenoids in the blood. Carotenoids are yellow-red pigments in fruits and vegetables. The most well-known carotenoid is beta-carotene, which occurs naturally in carrots. The body converts beta-carotene to vitamin A.

High intakes of more than 30 milligrams (mg) per day can cause the skin to take on a yellow tinge that commonly affects the soles of the feet and the palms of the hands.

Foods high in carotenoids include:

Medical conditions that affect the body’s ability to remove carotenoids also contribute to carotenemia. These include:

Yellow skin can sometimes indicate a more serious medical issue, especially if discoloration appears on multiple body areas.

People should see their doctor if they experience the following symptoms in addition to yellow skin:

If yellow feet are the only symptom, the cause is likely a callus or a high intake of carotenoid-containing foods. A podiatrist can treat calluses and other foot problems, while a dietician can help a person plan a more balanced diet.

The outlook for people with yellow feet depends on what causes this discoloration. In most cases, the feet will return to their normal color once the person addresses the underlying condition.

As yellow feet may sometimes indicate a more serious issue, it is important that people see a doctor promptly if they have any concerns or experience other symptoms.