We’ve compiled a list of reasons that your sweet feet could be bothering you. The good news is that you can fix some of these issues on your own. In other instances, you will likely need to visit a professional.
A common condition that causes heel pain, plantar fasciitis is a result of inflammation. Plantar fascia runs from the heel up the side of the foot to the toes. Tears in the fascia cause inflammation. People normally feel pain when they take their first steps in the morning. Pain is sharp and can come and go, but this is a chronic condition.
Treatment can include massage, shoe inserts, stretching, or medical procedures to remove the damaged tissue.
Extra pounds can shift how you bear weight on your feet and ankles. Obesity or weight gain (e.g. pregnancy) can cause many foot problems including plantar fasciitis, tendonitis, fallen arches, arthritis, or ball pain. Doctors may recommend a weight loss program, pain medication, orthotic footwear, or foot exercises to alleviate pain.
Calluses tend to form from pressure placed on certain areas of the feet. The thick, hard skin commonly develops on the ball of foot, as well as the heel or big toe. High heel shoes, flat feet, and tight shoes are culprits. Wearing orthotic shoes or other supportive footwear can help equalize pressure on the sole. Calluses can either be removed professionally or at home.
Toe cramps have multiple causes including dehydration, nutritional deficiencies, and overexertion. Toe cramping usually announces itself with shooting pain and can wake some people up from their sleep. Other causes are nerve damage from diabetes or another disease, or wearing tight shoes.
To help with toe cramps, balance your electrolyte intake. Hot and cold packs, stretches, and changing footwear can also help with symptoms.
Fallen arches are what causes one to be flat-footed, which can open the gate to other foot problems. Some people inherit fallen arches at birth, but it can also occur later in life due to weakness in the arch. Not everyone with flat feet experiences pain. But those who do often feel it within the arch itself or in the heel. Eliminating a high heel habit, improving posture, or wearing insoles can help with flat feet pain, but severe cases require medical intervention.
Wearing the Wrong Shoes
We can’t emphasize this enough. High heels put undue stress on the balls of your feet and its arches leading to a condition called metatarsalgia. Flip flops and other shoes that don’t support the heel can force the toes into a bad position, causing corns, toe bone deformities, calluses, and injury. Wearing improper footwear during activities like running can impact circulation, the ankles, and bones of the foot.
Osteoarthritis usually hits people who are older. The joints in the foot wear down and become inflamed, affecting the heel, toe, and ankle the most. It may be painful to walk. Pain relievers, orthotic shoes, or weight management can help.
Painful and ugly, ingrown toenails are the result of the nail growing into the skin. Some causes include curved nails, tight footwear, and incorrect trimming. Certain athletic or dance activities also increase the risk of getting an ingrown nail. To help alleviate the tenderness and soreness, soak your foot in warm water. Treat the skin with an antibiotic ointment. For serious infections, see a doctor.
Stress fractures are sneaky. According to the Mayo Clinic, people may not notice they have one until the pain gradually manifests. When the bone is overtaxed and it’s constantly trying to repair itself from the stress, eventually the bone can become weakened and fracture. Common causes include sports, malnutrition, flat feet, strenuous activity, or osteoporosis. To treat it, doctors recommend a boot or crutches.
There are two forms of this condition, but see a physician for a proper diagnosis. Runners experience this but it can happen to anyone. Your Achilles tendon runs from the calf muscles down to the heel. Pain often shows up in the heel area, but can affect the ankle and entire tendon.
Ouch! Tight muscles can put too much strain on the Achilles, leading to injury. It’s suggested to stretch the area by using the ball of the foot to prevent it from occurring. Ice packs and compression therapy can be used to treat it at home. In some cases, surgery is necessary.
Morton’s Neuroma is the result of tissue and nerve inflammation in the ball of your foot. Pain feels sharp and may be concentrated between the toes. It may also feel like something is in your shoe. Numbness, tingling, or a burning feeling that moves from the ball to the toes are common symptoms.
Causes include pressure, injury, athletic activities, fallen arches, or bunions. Changing your footwear can help, as can supportive insoles. Serious cases might require treatment by a physician.
If your foot pain is constant and unbearable, see a podiatrist! Surgery may not always be the answer as simple behavioral changes can make a huge difference.