Is foot pain disrupting your day to day activity? Or even worse, preventing you from staying active and exercising? The danger of foot pain is that it often goes undiagnosed but can have the greatest impact on lifestyle, affecting mobility and activity levels. With your health potentially on the line, don’t leave your foot pain unchecked. Check out these help tips and ideas:
Common Causes of Foot Pain
If your foot pain doesn’t resolve itself with rest or ice and heat therapy, it may be time to see a doctor or podiatrist for an expert evaluation. Your foot pain may be caused by:
Plantar Fasciitis – when the plantar fascia band of tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot from the heel to the toes becomes inflamed or incurs tiny tears, it can cause pain when walking or standing.
Ingrown Toenail – typically afflicting the big toe, an ingrown toenail occurs when the sides of the toenail are curved inward and grown into the skin instead of away from it. Ingrown toenails can result in painful inflammation, tenderness, and even infection.
Bunion or Bone Spur – unwanted bone growth, usually on the outside of the
big toe or pinky toe, develops from wearing narrow shoes over a long period of time, from general overuse and stress of the inner and outer foot joints, or even from arthritis of the foot.
Hammer Toe – often found on the second, third, and fourth toes, hammer toe is simply the permanent bending of the toe at the top joint, leaving the end of the toe facing down. Sometimes it can rub on footwear and become irritated with blisters, corns, or calluses.
Steps to Ease Foot Pain
Foot pain relief does not necessarily need to include medicinal avenues or invasive treatments.
Check out these natural and accessible foot pain remedies:
1) Foot Care
This one might sound simple, but few actually care for their feet quite like they should. Washing and drying feet thoroughly each day (don’t forget in between the toes!) is vital to removing unwanted contaminants and bacteria. Moisturizing daily as well helps to nourish skin, prevent
calluses from developing, and keep skin from drying out and cracking.
Regular foot massages can help break up scar tissue and even aid muscle repair in the feet after a long day at work or after a workout.
Long, limber foot muscles and ligaments are less likely to strain or become injured with movement. Routine stretching and exercise boosts blood flow to the feet, stretches important muscle groups in the feet and legs, and strengthens connective tissues – even the tiny tendons in your toes. This can prevent conditions like Achilles tendinitis, plantar fasciitis, and
hammertoe as well as soothe pain associated with inflamed joints, or arthritis.
3) Wear Good Shoes
Investing in a solid pair of shoes is critical to aiding and preventing future foot pain. For athletes, shoes which fit and support your arch type and stabilize your ankle motion play a critical role in promoting good body mechanics. For seniors, shoes which fit well, but aren’t too snug, and have a smooth bottom to allow for safe, easy mobility are a must. For women, ditch the high heels. When you can, avoid heels as they narrow the forefoot, throw off hip stability, and can cause painful foot conditions like bunions, bone spurs, and arch pain.
4) Brace and Splint
Existing foot problems can make walking and exercising difficult, but like with some injuries, bracing, wrapping, splinting or wearing orthotic insoles can help. For example, an arch support which slides over the foot like a sleeve and sits in the arch can provide arch support to someone with flat feet. A plantar fasciitis wrap can provide compression to an inflamed and painful foot, or the best bunion splints can stabilize the big toe joint and prevent the bony growth from rubbing against footwear.
5) Cross Training
For athletes and avid gym members who are pained to miss out on routine training because of foot pain, cross training may be a viable alternative. Largely referred to as the learning of an additional role or sport to enhance performance in the original, cross training can also be employed during recovery from a lower extremity injury. Runners suffering from painful plantar fasciitis or metatarsalgia may benefit from body weight exercises, walking on a treadmill, or riding stationary bicycles.
With one quarter of all your body’s bones in them, your feet make up some of the most important components of your body. Ignoring foot pain now can lead to much bigger health problems down the line. Consult a doctor and find routes for treatment and pain relief that are accessible, practical, and effective.