Together, your feet contain about 25 percent of all the bones in your body. With 26 bones each, 33 joints, 107 ligaments and multiple muscles and tendons, they are one of the body’s most complex structures. They are also one of the parts of the body that people tend to neglect. In fact, about 75 percent of Americans will suffer from a foot-related problem at some point in their lives, requiring the services of a podiatrist or foot and ankle specialist.
Do you suffer from foot pain or discomfort? Here are three of the most common causes of foot pain and what you can do get better:
1. Plantar fasciitis
If you suffer from heel pain that tends to be worse when you get up in the morning, you may have plantar fasciitis, a syndrome that causes painful inflammation along the bottom of the foot, from the heel to the ball of the foot. It occurs when the ligament that connects your heel bone to your toes (the plantar fascia) get weak, irritated or swollen. It occurs most commonly in athletes, people who spend a lot of time on their feet, people who are overweight, and middle-aged people.
If you think you might have plantar fasciitis, schedule a consult with a local podiatrist. He or she will be able to recommend foot and calf stretches that can help the affected muscles in your feet move with less pain. Shoe modifications may also be necessary in order to provide better arch support and reduce stress on the plantar fascia.
Calluses are thick parts of the skin that have hardened due to continuous friction or pressure. They are common on the soles of the feet and under the heels and can develop due to several reasons, such as walking a lot in new or poorly-fitting shoes. Many people have them and never experience pain or discomfort. If left untreated, however, they can oftentimes get worse over time.
In order to prevent a callus from getting worse, take care of your feet by soaking them at home in warm water and applying lotion daily in order to keep the skin soft. You can also wear protective pads and shoe inserts to prevent recurring calluses from forming. If you have a callus and it continues to grow in size or becomes painful, see a doctor. It may be necessary to remove it with a scalpel.
A bunion is a type of foot deformity that occurs when the big toe pushes against the toe next to it. This pressure forces the bones to become misaligned and joint in the big toe to get bigger, producing a bump at the base of the big toe. Many people think that bunions are caused by wearing pointy or tight-fitting shoes. In truth, they are most often genetic, but wearing the wrong shoes can aggravate the problem, producing more swelling and inflammation.
One way to prevent bunions is to wear the right shoes, ensuring that there is a bit of extra space between the end of the longest toe and the tip of the shoe. You can also avoid shoes that have a pointy toe, opting instead for footwear with a wider toe box. If you suffer from bunions, a podiatrist can help by prescribing orthotics or recommending inserts or foot pads.
Do you suffer from one of these conditions? Give us a call at 210-479-3233, and we’ll help you regain healthy feet.