The foot is a complex weight-bearing structure. It is composed of 26 bones and many muscles. Several ligaments support the foot. Foot pain is quite prevalent and is experienced by many. It can result from various causes. Some of the most common causes of foot pain are-
1. Injuries to the foot include-
- Fracture of the foot bones.
- Ankle sprains due to injury to the ligaments.
- Injury to tendons leading to tendinitis. Achilles tendinopathy is quite common.
2. Arthritis- Foot is commonly affected by Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid arthritis, and Gout. Gout commonly affects the big toe of the foot.
3. Bunions-It is a bony protrusion usually found on the joint at the base of the big toe.
4. Stress Fracture– It is an overuse injury. It results from cumulative micro-trauma over a while. Common in runners and people engaged in high-impact activities.
5. Wearing improper footwear(tight and pointy) may lead to pressure at certain points of the foot. With constant friction, this leads to hard, thickened skin known as corns.
6. Metatarsalgia affects the head of the metatarsals, which becomes inflamed and painful.
7. Plantar Fasciitis – Plantar fascia is a band of tissue, which runs from the heel to toes on the plantar aspect of the foot. It becomes inflamed and painful.
8. Flat feet due to fallen arches.
9. Peripheral Neuropathy-It is more common in people with diabetes due to nerve damage.
10. Foot Deformities like hammertoes, claw toes.
11. Morton’s Neuroma– It causes pain and numbness on the ball of the foot, resulting from the thickening of the neural tissue between the base of the toes, usually the 3rd and the 4th one.
12. Peripheral arterial disease.
General Foot Pain Management Measures–
- Resting the foot.
- Applying ice.
- Taping for support.
- Anti-inflammatory medications like NSAIDs.
- Orthotics and pads are also helpful in improving alignment or take off the pressure.
- Physical Therapy.
- Corticosteroid injections are used for patients who do not improve with conservative therapy.
**If your foot pain is severe, getting worse, associated with an open wound or sudden swelling, fever, and makes it difficult for you to weight bear, see your doctor at the earliest.**
- Wear comfortable footwear with good cushioning that fits well. Avoid high heel and narrow shoes.
- Avoid too much stress on foot like frequent and prolonged high-impact activities.
- Avoid running on uneven surfaces or hard concrete surfaces.
- Do a proper warm-up and cool down when doing work out.
- Maintain flexibility by regular stretching of the calf muscles and plantar fascia.
- Do foot strengthening exercises like toe curls, toe scrunchies, heel raises, toe raises, toe splays, ankle ROM exercises with bands.
- Correct your walking and running biomechanics under the guidance of a Physical Therapist.
- Maintain a healthy body weight to reduce stress on the foot.
STAY HEALTHY! STAY FIT!
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