Best Ways to Relieve Your Foot Pain
Your two feet contain one-quarter of the 206 bones in your body along with 33 joints and hundreds of muscles, ligaments and tendons that provide balance and movement. The complex network offers many areas that can produce pain from accident, injury or use. Your feet also rely on an Achilles tendon that lets you run, jump and stand on your toes.
The routine care of your feet may help prevent the development of some painful conditions. Healthline recommends maintaining a healthy weight to avoid putting undue stress on the structures in your feet. Shoes that have high heels and narrow toe areas may cause discomfort while comfortable footwear helps protect your feet. By stretching your feet before you engage in strenuous exercise, you help them cope with the increased level of activity, and remembering to wear shoes outdoors guards against punctures and other hazards.
Understanding the Common Types of Foot Pain
When your feet hurt, everything else hurts too. Foot pain can cause fatigue as well as discomfort in your legs and low back, interfering with your daily routine. It is best to figure out which type of foot pain you are suffering from in order to find the best way to treat it.
Plantar fasciitis occurs from an inflammation of the flat band of tissue that starts at your heel and extends the length of your foot. Heel spurs form abnormal growths on the bottom of your heel bone. A fracture can result from a break or shatter from a fall or other high-impact injury.
Metatarsalgia usually results from overuse, and it most often occurs among athletes. Morton’s neuroma produces similar symptoms that include inflammation of a nerve. Sesamoiditis may occur among ballet dancers and runners when the connecting tendons near the big toe become inflamed from injury.
Plantar fasciitis produces pain in the arch as well as the heel. Fallen arches can result from a flattening out of the foot’s structures.
Gout, a kind of arthritis, allows some crystals to collect around the toe joints. Bunions produce a bony formation at the base of the big toe, and corns and calluses form a buildup of tissue at pressure points on the foot. Hammertoes often accompany bunions and can contort the shape of the toes. Nerve damage may create a claw toe that prevents straightening it. Ingrown toenails occur when the skin around the toenail grows over the nail.
A broken bone typically produces pain around the foot’s outer edge.
Tendinitis presents pain from the inflammation of tendons that run along the foot’s surfaces.
Reviewing Causes and Symptoms
The causes of five of the most commonly occurring types of foot pain may remain unclear, but most have symptoms that you can readily recognize and identify.
Plantar fasciitis reveals its presence with a stabbing pain in the heel that is sharpest upon awakening. Doctors have not identified the causes of the condition, but they know that age, stress on the heel, and obesity can contribute to it.
A broken bone captures your attention immediately with a throbbing pain that hurts more with activity and less with rest. It may produce swelling, tenderness, and difficulty in bearing weight.
Hammertoes create an abnormal bend in a toe joint that produces pain when it moves. A deformity that occurs from an inability of the muscles and tendons to hold the toe straight, its causes relate to trauma to the foot structure or improper footwear. Hammertoes occur more often among women than men.
Ingrown toenails can result from wearing shoes that crowd the toes, an improper cutting technique, or an injury. A cut that is too short or not straight can create a potential for the condition to occur. Symptoms include pain where the skin overlaps the nail, redness, swelling, and signs of infection around the nail.
Bunions, a bony outcrop alongside your big toe, may occur from wearing high-heeled or excessively narrow shoes, but experts disagree about causes. Symptoms occur as swelling and soreness near the joint of the big toe. The pain may persist or occur intermittently, and the condition may lead to the formation of corns and calluses.
Choosing a Treatment Option for Foot Pain
One of the most straightforward signals that you need medical treatment for your feet is a sudden and severe pain. When you cannot put weight on your foot or you have swelling, an open sore or fever, you need help. Without improvement after 7-14 days of home care, it is time for medical treatment depending on what type of foot pain you are suffering from.
- Plantar fasciitis treatment may include rest, icing, and stretches along with pain relievers. Some cases may need physical therapy, night splints, and orthotics.
- A broken bone may require surgery to implant plates, screws, or rods that support the injured bone as it heals. Some breaks may recover without medical treatment.
- Hammertoes may improve with exercises, splints, custom shoe inserts, good-fitting shoes, anti-inflammatory drugs and surgery.
- Medical treatment for severely ingrown toenails may require surgery to remove part of the nail bed and antibiotics to control any infected areas.
- Bunions may respond to home remedies, or a doctor can tape your foot to put it in a position that relieves the stress and pain of a bunion.