So is some foot pain normal?
From a Podiatrist’s perspective … the answer is no. It is a clear sign that something is wrong, and needs to be evaluated and treated.
Men are the first to admit they usually resist going to a Podiatrist (or Doctor) when their feet hurt. But the good news is that most foot or ankle problems are treatable, and easier to treat when diagnosed early.
Let’s look at foot pain this way—pain is like the oil light in your car. Left unchecked or ignored, what you may consider “some foot pain” can slowly worsen until it becomes more difficult and expensive to resolve.
Men: If you currently have foot pain, here are five foot problems you should never ignore:
Heel Pain- this is often caused by tissue inflammation, but can also result from what is known as a “stress fracture,” or a tight heel cord or plantar fasciitis which left untreated can eventually rupture.
Ankle Sprains- if severe, these should always require a prompt visit to the doctor. If left ignored, sprains may develop into chronic instability or tendon disease which eventually may require surgery.
Joint Stiffness – stiffness of any joint of the foot or ankle that develops slowly allows the natural joint cartilage to wear down leading to pain and loss of function. A painful arthritic joint left to develop over time usually results in joint replacement or fusion.
Tendonitis – usually develops from a sudden increase in physical activity at work or when men play weekend sports. Tendonitis left untreated may lead to a tear or rupture which usually requires casting, surgery or both.
Toenails – whether the toenails are thick or ingrown, “bathroom surgery” should be avoided and is especially considered dangerous if you have diabetes or have poor circulation. Treatment is usually straightforward and less dangerous if treated early.
If you are suffering from any of the above conditions or know of anyone who is also presently suffering, please take a moment and explore our website- http://www.thepodiatrist.co.nz and make an appointment now.
Every time you take a step, your foot is hit with unforgiving vibrations that can cause tendinitis, plantar fasciitis, stress fractures, and more — particularly if you wear high heels or participate in foot-stressing activities, like running.
The muscles in your foot play a huge role in how your body absorbs shock.
To start an at-home foot health routine to reduce pain, try these four moves:
• For strength: Short foot. This is a movement so small, To perform the short foot exercise, stand barefoot and contract the arch of your foot by driving your big toes into the ground. It makes the bottom of the foot contract, it pulls your arch up, and fires your hips and abs — just from that one little movement. “Short footing” a few times a day while you’re doing another activity like brushing your teeth, cooking dinner, or waiting for the bus.
• For strength: Stand on one leg. Now that you know the benefits of single-leg training, try it at home by simply standing barefoot on one foot while standing in line or doing chores around the house. For an extra balance challenge that will really fire your feet, close your eyes — it throws off your centre of gravity and makes balancing more challenging.
• For recovery: Stand on golf balls. Golf balls under your feet work the same as foam roller and massage for other parts of your body-hey break up lactic acid to help muscles relax and recover from stress. If standing on the balls is too intense for you, sit in a chair and roll the golf balls under your feet for a light massage. This exercise can be helpful for arch pain, cramps, and foot pain from plantar fasciitis.
• For recovery: Calf stretches. Tight calves put a lot of strain on your feet, which is why The Podiatrist recommends stretching your calves daily. For a simple stretch, face a wall from two to three feet away. Lean into the wall, keeping your heels on the floor and your knees extended, and hold. For a deeper stretch, stand on one leg on a stair, holding a railing for support. Drop your heel, so that it hangs off the step, and push it down with your weight until you feel a stretch in your calf.
Contact The Podiatrist for any of your foot problems.
Stay stable on your feet- The ankle is built to support your body’s load but uneven distribution of weight can leave it vulnerable
I wish I had a dollar for every time I hear my clients say “weak ankles”. The ankles are built to support nearly 100% of the body’s load, and if you look at the role of the joint in any sport which involves being on your feet, you will see that it can take very high impacts. It is flexible, resilient and capable of generating some serious explosive movements. So why do I see so many ankle injuries?
Understanding how such a brilliantly designed joint can turn weak lies in studying its functional relationship and interaction with the body’s other weight–bearing joints—the hips, knees and shoulders. The human body is a structure with several load-bearing joints, all of which will function at their optimum only if they are engaged together as a single unit—much like a well-made chair. The sturdy chair will bear the weight of the guest sitting on it pretty efficiently for years, but if people keep tipping the chair back and forth on its rear and front legs alternately, the chair will start wobbling and may ultimately collapse altogether. In the same manner, the body’s load-bearing joints will lose the benefit of its combined strength if the load is not distributed evenly along the shoulders, hips, knees and ankles. If anyone has to compensate regularly for the other, then that joint will deteriorate.
The ankle is particularly vulnerable as it bears the maximum load of the human body. This explains the high number of ankle-pain sufferers. The solution, however, does not lie in artificial support systems like taping, or special high-top shoes, or even surgery—it lies in spotting the deviant joint, understanding its relationship with the muscles around it, and aligning it with the rest of the load-bearing joints.
Calf muscles and ankles
The most common cause of ankle pain is dysfunctional and unusually shortened or tight calf muscles. For a human body to achieve proper locomotion, it is extremely important that the feet are able to dorsiflex. Dorsiflexion is the technical term used to describe the motion when the toes and feet move inwards towards the shin bone. While walking or running, when the foot hits the ground on impact, the shin has to move towards the feet in order to create the proper “give” or soft cushioning. This is only possible if the calf muscle is flexible and functional. If the calf muscle is tight, then the ankle abducts (moves outwards from the shin), unusually increasing its workload at impact. Moving away at impact takes it out of line to bear the body’s weight evenly, so there is too much load now acting on the inside of the ankle. Simple stretches to restore length back to the calf muscles, like the ones we will outline, sometimes take away chronic pain in the ankles, and make the joint more stable.
The Achilles tendon
The Achilles tendon attaches the muscles of the calf to the heel of the foot, and is hurt more often than any other tendon. The Achilles tendon’s opposing tendons attach the two heads of the gastrocnemius muscle (part of the calf muscle) to the two sides of the femur bone which significantly also form a part of the knee joint. Any misalignment of the knee joint, then, disrupts the tension and interaction of the tendons. The Achilles tendon, instead of delivering a fluid, smooth contraction, starts “twanging” and crimping. The Achilles tendon is not built to snag or to move such loads without help from the lower leg, hip or knee.
See The Podiatrist if you are experiencing any problems.
Nowadays, most Podiatists and Doctors would agree that heel pain is a very common malady. However, there are many causes of this pain. One of the most prevalent is the heel spur. A heel spur results from an anatomical change of the heel bone.
What are Heel Spurs?
The heel bone forms one end of the two longitudinal arches of the foot held in place by ligaments and are activated by the muscles of the foot. These muscles and ligaments, like the other supporting tissues of the body, are attached in two places. Where there is undue stress to the heel bone, one’s body automatically calcifies the tissue attachments thus creating a spur.
The pain from heel spurs is a result of inflammation around the tendons where they attach to the heel bone. Most would assume that the pain would dramatically increase as you walk but it is not usually the case. In all actuality, the pain is the most intense when you begin to walk after not being on your feet for a while. After a short period of time, the pain usually dissipates and you adjust.
If excessive strain has been placed on the foot the day before, the pain may also be greater. A sudden strain, as might be produced by leaping or jumping, can also increase the pain. The pain might be localized at first, but continued walking and standing after being stressed will soon cause the entire heel to become tender and painful.
It has been reported that anywhere between 11 and 27% of the population have radiographic evidence of a spur. Furthermore, heel spurs do appear to be associated with obesity, osteoarthritis and a major component of the aging process.
Heal Heel Spurs
To help alleviate the pain, see The Podiatrist to have the condition diagnosed.
Have you experienced heel spurs before? What do you do to alleviate the pain from heel spurs?
See The Podiatrist if you are experiencing problems.
These days, the vast majority of people are working to improve some aspect of their overall health. Popular resolutions can range from increased exercise and healthier eating habits to quitting smoking or simply taking a daily multivitamin; but amidst all these other goals, proper foot care often falls by the wayside. Common foor problems such as foot pain, ingrown nails, athlete’s foot or bunions, are all too often neglected at the outset – and subsequently permitted to progress to the point where professional treatment is required to reverse the problem. In most cases, improved preventative care is all it takes to keep these conditions at bay. However, some conditions may require professional treatment or even surgery: and before attempting to self-diagnose or self-treat any foot injury, pain or infection, it is important to consult The Podiatrist to ensure proper diagnosis and a safe solution for lasting health.
The following guidelines can help individuals keep their feet healthy and happy all year long – and make it easier for them to detect early symptoms and warning signs in order to seek prompt and effective podiatric treatment:
- Ingrown Nails – Ingrown toenails can develop easily and without warning if nails are trimmed incorrectly or constricted in ill-fitting shoes. Left untreated, they can result in painful infections. Prevent ingrown toenails by cutting nails straight across and rounding the edges with a clean file — and take care to prioritize proper trimming and sanitation techniques when frequenting nail salons to reduce the risk of infection.
- Nail Fungus – Toenail fungus, or onychomycosis, is a common ailment that is particularly likely to affect athletes, elderly individuals and anyone with a genetic history of the disease. Fungus can start in a tiny portion of the nail and spread over time to the full nail, so frequent inspections (after bathing or while grooming, for example) are an essential preventative step. Take steps to avoid toenail fungus by keeping feet dry and clean, changing socks regularly and wearing shoes in public areas. For those already with nail fungus, consider advanced laser therapy for drug-free, long-lasting eradication of fungus and unsightly symptoms.
- Bunions – Despite popular belief correlating bunions and badly-fitting shoes (such as high heels, flats and flip-flops), most bunions are in fact the result of inherited structural defects and have little relation to one’s footwear. That being said, shoes that lack the proper support may well exacerbate the pain and swelling symptomatic of bunions. Individuals suffering from continous foot painvisible swelling on the big toe joint or restricted motion of the foot should consult a podiatrist and consider the benefits of bunion surgery: because bunions are a progressive disorder, only surgery will reverse painful symptoms and allow patients to return to their normal activities in comfort.
Don’t wait to begin taking better care of your feet: commit to a better preventative care routine today, and consider visiting The Podiatrist for a consultation.