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Foot Pain


Foot Pain

Foot Pain

Any region of your foot from the toes to the area behind the heels or Achilles tendon can suffer discomfort or  foot pain.  The pain can affect the toes, arch, heel, sole, instep or ankles. Though some pain in the foot can be serious, some of it is merely an inconvenience. Minor pain in the foot will mostly respond positively to home based treatments.

Certain chronic  foot pain  conditions and injuries can result in worsened situations. Such situations usually require medical attention. If left unattended, some  foot pain  problems can result in disability or long-term damages. 

Foot Pain Causes

One of the most frequently experienced problems is  foot pain. This pain can arise from a variety of causes. The precise location of the pain is instrumental in determining the actual cause of pain.

A consideration of some common  foot pain causes can also be helpful in diagnosing the cause of pain. If any particular part of the foot anatomy has a problem, then this can also result in pain. The foot anatomy covers the blood vessels, nerves, bones, skin, tendons, ligaments, muscles, toenail beds and fascia.

Some particular causes of  foot pain  include poorly fitting shoes. This is a major cause of pain in the foot. Some conditions associated with incorrect shoe attire include :

  • Bunions: These are likely to develop with time if your shoes are narrow at the top or they clamp your toes. Bunions are characterized by bumps at the root of the big toe. They are likely to get inflamed.
  • Calluses and corns: Calluses appear on the heels or at the ball of the foot. They are simply skin that has become thickened due to the effects of pressure or constant rubbing against the shoe. Corns will develop on the top part of your toes.
  • Hammer toes: These appear claw like because the toes clench downward.
  • Fallen arches: In this case, instead of the arch of the foot being in its normal raised position it drops to the same level as the foot. This condition is also known as flat feet. A  foot pain specialist should be consulted when carrying out arch pain diagnosis.
  • Plantar warts: These result from the effects of pressure on the soles of the feet. They leave sores on your soles.
  • Aging, obesity or being overweight grossly increase your likelihood of developing  foot pain.
  • Gout. This is a common foot condition that affects the big toe. It usually swells, reddens and becomes very tender.
  • Morton’s neuroma. This occurs when the nerve tissue thickens usually between the toes.

There are many other causes of foot pain. These may include plantar fasciitis heel pain, sprains, tendinitis and stress fractures. Others are arthritis, broken bones and bursitis of the heel.

Foot Pain Treatment and Prevention

Foot Pain

Foot Pain

There are several steps that can considerably reduce pain in the foot.

  • Using ice-packs to ease inflammation and relieve pain.
  • As a means of reducing friction and irritation, wear some foot pads.
  • Keep off unnecessary activity until you recover.
  • Engage your painful foot in as much upward motion as possible.
  • Take over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
  • In case you have plantar warts, take some nonprescription wart removal preparations.
  • If you have calluses, have them soaked in warm water, and then scrub them off using a pumice stone. Corns and calluses should never be cut off or burnt.
  • A prolonged relaxation period is necessary in case your pain is caused by a stress fracture. Easing off your weight from your foot may require the use of crutches. If the pain is rather severe, then this should be continued for about a week.
  • Stretching and the use of shoe inserts or orthotics is beneficial if your pain is as a result of plantar fasciitis.
  • Get replacements for your running shoes as often as possible.
  • When walking, preferably wear sneakers as much as possible.
  • Before your regular warm up, ensure you stretch and don’t forget to warm down.
  • Ensure your shoes are comfortable, well fitting and their arch support is in good shape. Have shoes that have enough room around the toes and the ball of your foot. High heeled shoes and narrow tipped shoes should be avoided altogether.
  • To avoid unnecessary weight on your feet,  lose excess weight.
  • As you exercise, increase the intensity and repetitions of your exercises gradually to avoid excess pressure on your foot.
  • To avoid  foot pain, engage in foot strengthening exercises. This is beneficial for flat feet and other foot problems.
  • When all has been tried and the pain still persists, foot surgery may be one extra option for some foot complications.

Foot Pain that Requires Medical Attention

  • If your foot suddenly gets severely painful, seek medical attention.
  • If your foot is bloody or bruised and you can’t stand on it, especially following an accident or foot injury.
  • If the pain is accompanied by swelling on the joint and redness.
  • An ulcer on your foot or open sore or if the pain is accompanied by a fever.
  • If you experience pain in the foot and you suffer from a condition that restricts the flow of blood e.g diabetes.
  • If after a week or two of trying out some  foot pain remedies, you do not notice any improvement.
Foot Pain

Foot Pain

When carrying out a physical examination, specific attention will be given to your legs, back, your feet, how you walk and your general posture. Some questions your doctor will ask will be about your symptoms and medical history. Some of these questions will include :

  • Whether the pain is experienced on both or one foot?
  • Where particularly does the pain affect?
  • Whether pain shifts from one joint to another or remains in the same position.
  • Did the pain emerge abruptly or progress gradually?
  • How long has the pain lingered or whether it has been improving?  Any remedy that provides immediate relief from pain or aggravates the situation? Any other symptoms that accompany the pain like numbness of the toes will also be of benefit to your doctor.
  • Likely the pain will either get worse in the morning or improve when you rise up.

X-rays may be useful in diagnosis. The treatment will be determined precisely by the cause of pain. If one of your bones is broken, a cast will be needed. Physical therapy can also be used to treat some cases of  foot pain  resulting from stiff or overused muscles.

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