Whether it’s you or a loved one dealing with foot pain, you’ll want to get a sense of the condition and what treatment options are available. Let us try to help you understand its different aspects and your treatment options.
Introduction:The foot is a complex structure of 26 bones and 33 joints, (it is made up of tarsal bones, metatarsal bones and phalanges ) layered with an intertwining web of over 120 muscles, ligaments, and nerves. It serves the following functions:
2.Acts as a shock absorber
3.Serves as a lever to propel the leg forward
4.Helps to maintain balance by adjusting the body to uneven surfaces
Since the feet are very small compared with the rest of the body, the impact of each step exerts tremendous force upon them. This force is about 50% greater than the person’s body weight. During a typical day, people spend about 4 hours on their feet and take 8,000 – 10,000 steps. This means that the feet support a combined force equivalent to several hundred tons every day.
Causes of foot pain:
Many things can cause foot pain. Wearing shoes that don’t fit right is one of the most common reasons people (especially women) get foot problems such as calluses and bunions. With age, feet often grow wider. Also, being overweight can increase your chances of having foot problems or injuries. Go shopping for shoes in the afternoon when your feet are at their largest due to swelling. Heels on shoes shouldn’t be higher than 1 inch.
Let us jot down some important causes:
Nearly all causes of foot pain can be categorized under one or more of the following conditions:
*Shoes. The causes of most foot pain are poorly fitting shoes. High-heeled shoes concentrate pressure on the toes and are major culprits for aggravating, if not causing, problems with the toes. Of interest, however, was a British study, in which 83% of older women experienced some foot pain. In the study, 92% of them had worn 2-inch heels at some point in their lives. Foot problems, however, were significant even in women who regularly wore lower heels.
*Temporary Changes in Foot Size and Shape. Temperature, and therefore weather, affects the feet: they contract with cold and expand with heat. Feet can change in shape and increase in size by as much as 5% depending on whether a person is walking, sitting, or standing.
*Poor Posture. Improper walking due to poor posture can cause foot pain.
*Medical Conditions. Any medical condition that causes imbalance or poor circulation can contribute to foot pain.
*Inherited Conditions. Inherited abnormalities in the back, legs, or feet can cause pain. For example, one leg may be shorter than the other, causing an imbalance.
*High-Impact Exercising. High-impact exercising, such as jogging or strenuous aerobics, can injure the feet. Common injuries include corns, calluses, blisters, muscle cramps, acute knee and ankle injuries, plantar fasciitis, and metatarsalgia.
*Industrial Cumulative Stress. Because of the effects of work-related repetitive stress on the hand, there has been considerable interest in the effect of work-stress on foot pain. According to one 2000 analysis, there is very little evidence for any significant impact of work on various foot disorders, including hallux valgus, neuroma, tarsal tunnel syndrome, toe deformity, heel pain, adult acquired flatfoot, or foot and ankle osteoarthritis. In general, the foot is designed for repetitive stress, and few jobs pose the same stress on the feet as many do on the hands. Nevertheless, certain professions, such as police work, are associated with significant foot pain. More research is needed.
Some Medical Conditions Causing Foot Pain:
Arthritic Conditions. Arthritic conditions, particularly osteoarthritis and gout, can cause foot pain. Although rheumatoid arthritis almost always develops in the hand, the ball of the foot can also be affected.
Diabetes. Diabetes is an important cause of serious foot disorders. (See table: “Diabetes and Foot Problems.”)
Diseases That Affect Muscle and Motor Control. Diseases that affect muscle and motor control, such as Parkinson’s disease, can cause foot problems.
High Blood Pressure. High blood pressure can cause fluid buildup and swollen feet. The effects of high blood pressure on the nervous and circulatory systems can cause pain, loss of sensation, and tingling in the feet, and can increase the susceptibility for infection and foot ulcers.
Nearly everyone who wears shoes has foot problems at some point in their lives. Some people are at particular risk for certain types of pain.
The Elderly. Elderly people are at very high risk for foot problems. In one study, 87% of older people reported at least one foot problem. Feet widen and flatten, and the fat padding on the sole of the foot wears down as people age. Older people’s skin is also dryer. Foot pain, in fact, can be the first sign of trouble in many illnesses related to aging, such as arthritis, diabetes, and circulatory disease. Foot problems can also impair balance and function in this age group.
Prevention : The American Podiatric Medical Association offers the following tips for preventing foot pain:
*Don’t ignore foot pain — it’s not normal. If the pain persists, see a doctor who specializes in podiatry.
*Inspect feet regularly. Pay attention to changes in color and temperature of the feet. Look for thick or discolored nails (a sign of developing fungus), and check for cracks or cuts in the skin. Peeling or scaling on the soles of feet could indicate athlete’s foot. Any growth on the foot is not considered normal.
*Wash feet regularly, especially between the toes, and be sure to dry them completely.
*Trim toenails straight across, but not too short. (Cutting nails in corners or on the sides increases the risk for ingrown toenails.)
*Make sure shoes fit properly. Purchase new shoes later in the day when feet tend to be at their largest, and replace worn out shoes as soon as possible.
*Select and wear the right shoe for specific activities (i.e., running shoes for running).
*Alternate shoes. Don’t wear the same pair of shoes every day.
*Avoid walking barefoot, which increases the risk for injury and infection. At the beach or when wearing sandals always use sunblock on the feet, as you would on the rest of your body.
*Be cautious when using home remedies for foot ailments. Self-treatment can often turn a minor problem into a major one.
*It is critical that people with diabetes see a podiatric physician at least once a year for a checkup. People with diabetes, poor circulation, or heart problems should not treat their own feet, including toenails, because they are more prone to infection.
In general, the best shoes are well cushioned and have a leather upper, stiff heel counter, and flexible area at the ball of the foot. The heel area should be strong and supportive, but not too stiff, and the front of the shoe should be flexible. New shoes should feel comfortable right away, without a breaking in period.
Getting the Correct Fit
Well-fitted shoes with a firm sole and soft upper are the best way to prevent nearly all problems with the feet. They should be purchased in the afternoon or after a long walk, when the feet have swelled. There should be a 1/2 inch of space between the longest toe and the tip of the shoe (remember, the longest toe is not always the big toe), and the toes should be able to wiggle upward. A person should stand when being measured, and both feet should be sized, with shoes bought for the larger-sized foot. It is important to wear the same socks as you would regularly wear with the new shoes. Women who are accustomed to wearing pointed-toe shoes may prefer the feel of tight-fitting shoes, but with wear their tastes will adjust to shoes that are less confining and properly fitted.
Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.