Foot Pain: An Epidemic
Your feet are very important to your overall health. The American Podiatric Medical Association recently released the results of a national study which investigated how frequently Americans suffer from foot pain. Out of 1,082 respondents, 818 had experienced a minimum of one foot problem within the last year. That’s over 75% of Americans with foot issues caused by trauma, disease, or subpar footwear.
Feet are the foundation of the body – the part of your body that all else rests. Taking care of them can lead to a greater overall health.
Time on Your Feet
Some of us can’t help how long we stay on our feet each day or the level of activity that we encounter when going to work or keeping up with the kids each day. But being armed with proper footwear is the first step to achieving foot health.
Choosing proper footwear is crucial to healthy feet. Here are some tips from the Better Health Channell.
How to choose the right shoe
Try to buy your athletic shoes from a specialty store. The staff may advise you on the type of shoe you need for your activity or sport. And they can properly fit the shoes so you end up with the right size.
Shop for shoes after exercise or at the end of the day. This will help make sure that shoes feel comfortable when your feet are at their largest.
Try the shoes wearing the same type of sock that you will wear for the activity.
Have the shop assistant measure your feet every time you buy shoes, because your feet may become larger and wider as you age. It’s also common for one foot to be slightly bigger than the other.
Check that you can wiggle all your toes when wearing the shoes. Remember, you need room for your foot to move within the shoe as you walk or run.
The shoes should be comfortable as soon as you try them on. Don’t rely on ‘breaking them in’.
Walk or run a few steps in your shoes, to check they are comfortable.
Make sure the shoes grip your heel. Your heel should not slip in the shoes when you move.
Think about width as well as length. If the ball of your foot feels squashed, ask if the shoe comes in a wider size. Shoes that are a half-size larger — but not wider — may not help.
Feel the inside of the shoes to check for tags, seams, or other material that might irritate your foot.
Examine the soles. Are they sturdy enough to protect against harmful objects? Do they provide appropriate grip? Try to walk on both carpet and hard surfaces.
Plantar fasciitis is a condition that causes heel pain. The tissue that connects the ball of your foot to your heel can sometimes become injured due to strain and cause inflammation and pain. This is usually due to repeated activities placing weight on the plantar fascia (the tissue that supports the arch in your foot).
Plantar fasciitis occurs most often with runners or people who are on their feet for lengthy periods at a time.
The symptoms of plantar fasciitis usually start after you have increased your activity or started spending more time on your feet. You may feel a sharp pain in your heel along with a tightening of the arch in your foot. Sometimes the pain may only be at certain times of the day or during certain activities. You may notice pain when you are barefoot or when you are wearing shoes with less than perfect arch support.
Seeking Help for Your Foot Pain
Your physical therapist will discuss a treatment plan with you that is customized to fit your specific needs. The goal of your treatment will be to reduce your pain over time while you are consistently attending physical therapy sessions along with performing any exercises/stretches or “homework” that the therapist prescribes. In most cases your plantar fasciitis will be resolved and usually does not lead surgery.