Aching Feet? Get In Step

DECEMBER 10, 2010

Many people suffer needlessly with chronic foot and ankle pain, and often chalk it up to an inevitable side effect of sports or aging.

Sports Injuries. Untreated sports injuries can be a major culprit in aching feet for the young and the athletic. Runners, dancers and others, who tend to overuse their feet, are susceptible to myriad issues.

Arthritis of the foot and ankle, tendon injuries, misalignment issues (that can also have implications in back and neck pain), and foot hygiene issues all can erupt into more serious problems. Early treatment can help avid sports enthusiasts avoid the sidelines while young, and old.

Diabetic Feet. Diabetes takes a toll on circulation and expert attention paid to a diabetic’s feet can reap many rewards for years to come. Proper foot hygiene and foot care (e.g. nails and skin) can go a long way to avoiding wounds and worse issues.

Flat Feet. Flat feet can cause pain in your arches.  The pain can be a sharp stabbing pain – a pulling or throbbing in the arch area of your feet.  A flat foot is also called “over-pronation” and can be caused by a traumatic injury, an over-use injury or just something you were born with – the normal arch you have when resting or sitting decreases or “falls” when you are standing or walking.  Solutions can include: stretching, physical therapy, custom arch supports or braces worn in your shoes.  If not relieved, over-pronation, or flat feet, may lead to several other common foot problems.

Heel pain. Heel pain is commonly caused by plantar fasciitis or “heel spur syndrome” and usually starts with the first step in the morning, and the pain may continue as the day goes on.  The solution starts with stretching, physical therapy, heel cushions, night splints, anti-inflammatory medications, injections, and in rare instances and only as a last resort is surgery a consideration.

Hammertoes. Hammertoes, which are common, look like “bent” or “crooked toes”.  Sometimes referred to as corns and calluses, they frequently become painful from the toes rubbing on your shoes. Treatments include: toe splints, toecaps, toe shields, shoes with extra room in the toe box area, and finally surgery to flatten or fuse the toes straight.

Bunions. This is a large bump occurring on the side of the big, and sometimes the small toe.  This bump rubs on the shoe and causes redness, swelling, and pain in the joints.  It can also be caused by flat feet, trauma, improper shoe wear or just passed down from your parents/grandparents.  Bunion pain can be alleviated by change in shoes, custom arch supports, bunion splints, bunion shields, bunions splints, and occasionally surgery.

Lastly, foot support technology has come a long way and the last few years have resulted in amazing advances in orthotics and orthopedic shoe technology.  New orthopedic shoes and arch supports not only support better, are streamlined, but also look better, too.

So consider making an appointment with a podiatrist or foot and ankle orthopedic doctor to evaluate your options, and end or reduce foot pain for now and your future.

You Might Also Enjoy...

Treatment Options for Foot & Ankle Arthritis

While there are over 100 types of arthritis, the one that most commonly affects the foot and ankle is osteoarthritis (“osteo” means bone). Osteoarthritis develops as a result of aging and is known as “wear-and-tear” arthritis.