Do your feet hurt after only a few hours of standing, walking, or exercising? You’re not imagining it, and you’re not alone. Although it’s not as talked about as back or knee pain, a whopping 77% of Americans have experienced foot pain at some point in their lives, according to the American Podiatric Medical Association.
The good news is that your pain has a reason. Keep reading to learn the 5 most common causes of foot pain, and what you can do to alleviate pain.
Causes Of Foot Pain
1. Heel Spurs
Heel spurs are bony growths on the bottom of the heel that can cause severe pain. Spurs form as a result of calcium build-up, and are often caused by repeated strain and tearing of foot ligaments and muscles such as the plantar fascia. Exercise, heavy foot use, and improper shoes can all contribute to the formation of heel spurs.
2. Achilles Tendinitis
Achilles tendinitis is the inflammation of the Achilles tendon, which runs from your calf muscle to your heel. This condition can be caused by overuse, improper shoes, and tight calf muscles. It’s very common in athletes and older people who partake in sporadic exercises, such as only on the weekends. It can present as a mild ache, tenderness, or stiffness in the Achilles tendon.
Arthritis is the inflammation of one or more joints and can cause severe pain and stiffness. The most common type of arthritis in the foot is osteoarthritis, which is caused by the deterioration of cartilage. Other types include rheumatoid arthritis (inflammation caused by an autoimmune disorder) and posttraumatic arthritis (inflammation that develops after an injury).
Bunions are a deformity of the big toe, where the toe points inward towards the other toes. This can cause a bony bump around the joint, which can create pain, swelling, redness, and sensitivity. Bunions are often caused by wearing tight shoes that squeeze the toes together. Symptoms of bunions include corns or calluses and a visible bump on the outside of your toe joint.
5. Corns and Calluses
Corns and calluses are thickened areas of skin that form to protect the foot from friction. They often develop on the feet and toes and are usually benign. However, occasionally corns and calluses can cause pain and irritation, especially when they’re repeatedly rubbed against your shoe or other parts of your foot.
How to Prevent or Heal Most Common Foot Pains
With the exception of rheumatoid arthritis and a few other situations where genetics or disease play a factor, most types of foot pain can be seriously helped just by giving your feet the proper support. This can be done by purchasing properly fitting shoes that promote natural foot posture, and by using several other podiatrist-recommended products that treat more specific issues.
Toe loops and bandages can relieve friction between toes, which can aid calluses and corns, while metatarsal pads can provide forefoot support that soothes arthritis and heel spurs. And toe separators can keep your toes from squeezing together, which can relieve bunions and force your feet into their proper alignment.
When it comes to foot pain, don’t suffer in silence! Be proactive about seeking solutions that work for you so you can get back to living the life you love. Try some of the solutions listed above, and consult with a podiatrist if your pain persists.