Foot pain can occur in different areas of the foot such as the heel, arch, or ball of your foot. The location usually dictates the cause of the foot pain. Most cases of foot pain can usually be traced back to poor fitting shoes or overuse.
While living with foot pain at one point of our lives or another is to be expected, experiencing pain for a prolonged period of time is not normal.
Problems in the foot need to be addressed immediately as they can lead to problems elsewhere in the body. Foot pain can change the way you walk, causing relative problems in your knees or your hips.
Fortunately, there are some simple things you can do to reduce or even eliminate foot pain.
Along with seeing a podiatrist or foot doctor, here are some causes of foot pain and tips to reduce it...
Why Is Foot Pain So Common?
Foot pain is rather common, and when you consider how complex the structure of our feet actually is, it's truly no surprise! It's actually miraculous how functional our feet really are, and how little trouble they do give us, considering how hard they work.
There's a little-thought of, incredible choreography of muscles, ligaments, bones and nerves going on in our feet at every moment, all working together to carry us around and move us from place to place.
Our amazing feet are composed of:
- 26 Bones
- More than 30 small joints (where the bones meet)
- As well as many muscles, ligaments, and nerves.
The feet work together to support the entire weight of the body and help maintain balance.
They also act as a shock absorber, allowing our bodies to stay mobile whilst providing pain relief and comfort for the entire body.
Knowing all that our feet do for our bodies every single day... It's no surprise that 80 percent of Americans experience foot pain at some point or another!
Common Causes of Foot Pain
- Achilles Tendonitis: Is an inflammation of the tendons that connects the calf muscles to the heel bone. It is caused by overuse or injury. It is most common in people who engage in high impact exercise such as running and tennis.
- Bunion: Caused by poor fitting shoes or genetics. A bony bump on the joint at the base of the big or little toe.
- Hammertoe: Caused by an injury, poor fitting shoes, or genetics. The muscles, tendons, or ligament that normally holds the toe straight instead cause the toe to bend or curl downwards.
- Morton’s Neuroma: A condition that usually develops when the bones leading to the third and fourth toes pinch together, compressing the nerve. The nerve then becomes enlarged and inflamed causing a burning or tingling sensation and a cramping in the ball of the foot.
- Plantar Fasciitis: The thick tissue on the bottom of the foot is called the plantar fascia. It connects the heel bone to the toes and creates the arch of the foot. When it becomes swollen or inflamed it is called plantar fasciitis. It is one of the most common foot complaints. It can be caused by high or low arches.
How to Reduce Foot Pain
- Orthotics: Adding insoles allows for your feet to get the support they need without being in pain.
- Physical Therapy: With a physical therapist, you can develop a plan to engage in strengthening, stretching, and balance exercises. There are also several at home stretches that can be performed.
- Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs): Available over the counter, these medications can help reduce pain caused by inflammation. However, like all drugs NSAIDs come with the risk of side effects and should not be used for a long period of time.
- Steroid Injections: Steroid injections can aid with pain caused by inflammation.
All in all, the best way to reduce foot pain is to wear properly fitting shoes that are meant for the activity that you're participating in.
When shopping for new shoes, be sure to try on potential pairs later in the day when your feet are the biggest due to slight swelling from the day's activities.
Also, replace worn out shoes in a timely manner to give your feet the best support and protection you can offer them.
When we take care of our feet, they take incredible care of us, so give them as much love as they deserve!
Here's to having our happiest, healthiest feet ever...
Slabway Wellness Consultant