Foot pain is one of the most common troubles people encounter. At some point in your life, you are probably going to experience some sort of physical condition directly associated with your feet. Whether it's blisters or bunions, warts or athlete's foot, lower back pain, or arch or heel pain, your feet are integral to your health, your quality of life and your state of mind.
There are many different causes of foot pain. Being overweight and aging can increase your chances of developing foot problems. Foot pain can be due to a problem of any component of the foot. Some foot problems start in the foot itself, for example, from a foot injury. Foot fractures often happen. Other problems can come from disorders that relate to many parts of the body, such as diabetes, gout, or arthritis. Bones, ligaments, tendons, muscles, fascia, toenail beds, nerves, blood vessels, or skin can all be the source of foot pain.
Pain around the balls of the feet and the bones in that area can develop by wearing shoes that are too tight or wearing high heels. Shoes that are tied too strongly may be hurtful and bruise the top of the foot.
Problems causing foot pain may include the following:
- A bump at the base of the big toe, which can become inflamed. Bunions: often develop over time from wearing narrow-toed shoes.
- Calluses and corns: Thickened skin from rubbing or pressure. Calluses are on the balls of the feet or heels. Corns appear on the top of your toes.
- Hammer toes: Toes that curl downward into a claw-like position.
- Fallen arches: Also called flat feet.
- Plantar warts: Skin growths on the soles of the feet due to a viral infection (virus).
Other common causes of foot pain include:
- Bone spur
- Broken bones
- Bursitis of the heel
- Gout -- common in the big toe, which becomes red, swollen, and very tender
- Morton's neuroma, a thickening of nerve tissue between the toes
- Plantar fasciitis
- Stress fracture
"Tired feet" are not a medical condition, but a rather common complaint related to various medical conditions. Muscle fatigue can be due to an abnormal foot structure (flatfoot or high arched foot) which can overburden the foot. Tired feet can also develop because of other potential factors such as obesity, improper footwear, pregnancy, leg swelling, increased activity level, or compensation from an injury (through overuse of other parts of the foot and/or the opposite foot).
Treatment depends on the exact cause of the foot pain. It may include rest, pain relievers, stretching exercises, and change in habits or footwear. It may include a cast, if you broke a bone or the removal of plantar warts, corns, or calluses. You may need to wear orthotics, or shoe inserts, do physical therapy to relieve tight or overused muscles or even have foot surgery.
The following steps may help relieve your foot pain:
- Apply ice to reduce pain and swelling.
- Raise your painful foot as much as possible.
- Reduce your activity until you feel better.
- Wear foot pads to prevent rubbing and irritation.
- Use an over-the-counter pain medicine.
Other measures can be taken to treat what is causing your foot pain.
Foot problems and foot pain can be prevented by following these recommandations:
- Wear comfortable, properly fitting shoes, with good arch support and cushioning.
- Wear shoes with plenty of room around the ball of your foot and toe.
- Avoid high heels.
- Wear sneakers as often as possible, especially when walking.
- Replace running shoes frequently.
- Warm up and cool down when exercising. Always stretch first.
- To avoid putting excessive strain on your feet, increase your amount of exercise slowly over time.
- Lose weight if you need to.
- Learn exercises to strengthen your feet and avoid pain. This can help flat feet and other potential foot problems.
When to contact a doctor:
- If you have sudden, severe foot pain.
- Following an injury, especially if your foot is bleeding or bruising or you cannot put weight on it.
- If you have redness or swelling of the joint, an open sore or ulcer on your foot, or a fever.
- If you also have diabetes or a disease that affects blood circulation
If your foot does not feel better after using self treatments for 1-2 weeks
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