You’d be amazed at how much walking you do in a day, especially if you’re a city dweller. Since those in the big apple tend to do more walking on average than most Americans, chances are that you’re more prone to have foot issues as well. For this reason, it’s important to be mindful of your feet; below we outline some of the most common types and causes for foot pain.
The main function of your plantar fascia, the thick band which connects your heel bone to your toes, is to support the arch in your foot and absorb shock. When this ligament becomes strained or inflamed, plantar fasciitis can develop. Plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of heel pain and affects roughly two million Americans a year. Of those affected, 95% of them will be able to relieve their pain without surgical means.
Anyone can become susceptible to developing this condition, however if you participate in activities that cause a lot of strain on the feet, such as running or dance, then you’re more likely at risk. Wearing improper shoes, such as those that have soft soles and poor arch support, could attribute to plantar fasciitis too so if you do a lot of heavy walking, like most city-dwellers do, opt for shoes with cushioning; this will help absorb the shock that can wear away at your joints.
There are several ways in which you could treat this condition. One way to relieve pain is to place ice on the foot to reduce inflammation, enabling the small tears in your plantar fascia to heal. Additionally, try to rest your feet as much as possible and avoid walking, especially on hard surfaces, as much as you can. Performing exercises in your toes and calves may also strengthen the muscles that support your arch.
The Achilles tendon is the band of tissue which connects your calf muscle to your heel bone and is the largest tendon in the body; Achilles tendinitis occurs when the tendon is overworked and overstressed. This condition is quite common but typically occurs in runners who suddenly increase the duration or intensity of their workout without giving their body time to adjust to the added strains. To avoid injury and overstrain, gradually increase your workout over a reasonable amount of time.
The most common symptoms of Achilles tendinitis include pain in the back of your heel or tendon when you first wake up, pain after exercising, or persistent swelling. If left untreated, the tendon may rupture and lead to greater issues. Luckily, there are plenty of non-surgical treatment options which include physical therapy, shockwave therapy, and cortisone injections.
Your foot is comprised of ligaments and tendons which form an arch in your foot to help support the weight of your body. If the entire arch of the foot is collapsed or “flattened,” and the sole of the foot touches the ground, the resulting condition is called flat foot. Over 25 million Americans are affected by this condition, making it the most common foot deformity.
Flat foot can be very painful and affect the way you walk. If your feet get tired very easily or if you have pain from movements such as standing on your toes, you may have flat feet. Leg, hip, and back pain are also common symptoms to look out for as well. While some with this condition may not experience any pain, those that do can wear orthotics to help distribute the pressure on the feet and stabilize the heel. For best results, get a pair of custom-made orthotics.
Cavus foot also tends to be less common than flat foot yet cause more issues. If your foot has a very high arch, curled toes, or you drag your feet when you walk, you probably have cavus foot. The unusually high structure of your arch forces the ball and heel of the foot to support the additional weight, aggravating the foot and causing pain.
Cavus foot can occur in one or both feet and may develop at any age. It usually arises as a result of an underlying medical condition such as cerebral palsy, polio, or even a stroke. It is imperative to obtain a proper diagnosis to find the root cause of your condition; if your cavus foot stems from a neurological disorder, then it is likely to worsen. Stretching can help minimize the stiffness associated with cavus foot. Additionally, bracing the ankle can help stabilize it and provide more support to the foot.
Depending on the severity of your case, the majority of foot issues can be resolved without the use of surgery. If you’re having severe foot pain, consult your physician to find the best treatment plan for you.