Foot pain can be debilitating and impact quality of life. It can also increase the risk of falls and affect a person’s mood. There are a variety of different ailments and injuries that can cause foot pain, and getting feet back to feeling good so the individual can be happy and active is a top priority.
Anyone at any age can be impacted by foot pain. Speaking with a podiatrist is the best way to treat and diagnose exactly what is causing the discomfort. Below are some common types of foot pain that can occur.
1. Pain in the Ball of the Foot
A variety of different conditions can cause this type of pain to develop. Often, it feels like the individual is stepping on something as they walk, and the pain can be lessened or alleviated by getting off of their feet. The treatment for this pain will depend on the cause, but it may include wearing shoe inserts or getting steroid injections in the foot.
These are bumps that occur on the side of the foot, often when the big toe shifts out of position and presses against the second toe. However, bunions can also occur when the pinky toe shifts out of position. This causes stress on the joint and ligaments and pain for the person.
Some ways to reduce or alleviate pain from this ailment include wearing shoes with space so toes can move freely and opting for shoes that have a low heel. Using a shoe insert and applying a topical pain reliever may also help reduce or alleviate bunion pain.
3. Calluses and Corns
These maladies often form when feet rub against the inside of shoes. If they break open or are constantly irritated, it causes pain. Wearing shoes that don’t rub and have enough space for toes to move freely can help reduce discomfort from corns and calluses.
Tendons secure muscle to bone, and they are sturdy and cord-like. With overuse and overstretching, the tendons can become painful. Over time, they can also weaken and tear, which causes further pain.
Treating tendonitis requires applying heat and ice, rest, and anti-inflammatory medicines. Wearing an insert may also help. If symptoms don’t improve and the injury progresses, surgery may be required to correct the problem.
Foot pain can be caused by a variety of different things, and knowing exactly what is causing the pain and discomfort and how to treat it is best determined by an experienced podiatrist such as Sheldon Nadal, D.P.M., in Toronto.
Humans are on their feet a lot, and because of this, it can impact how the entire body feels. If there are any issues with foot alignment, it can cause pain in the legs, ankles, feet, and back and even cause headaches. Taking care of feet means taking care of the entire body.
There are many benefits to wearing orthotics, including making sure the body alignment is correct and reducing or alleviating pain throughout the body. In addition, orthotics can improve balance; prevent the development of clawed digits and bunions; prevent ulcerations, calluses, and corns; support an individual’s arch and heel, and absorb the shock from the bottom of the foot when walking or participating in other activities.
Orthotics have a lot of advantages and make life more pleasant for their wearers. However, they don’t last forever. Depending on the type and construction of the orthotic, they’ll need to be replaced at some point in time—that could be as little as 1 year or as long as 5 years. Below are some ways to determine if it’s time for new orthotics.
- Check for wear and tear. If parts of the orthotic are broken, if there are cracks, or if the sole has worn thin, it’s time to get a new pair.
- Uneven wear and tear on shoes. While examining the orthotic itself will let the wearer know if they need to be replaced, looking at the bottom of shoes is also a good indicator. If there is uneven wear and tear on the soles, it could be time to replace the orthotics.
- They cause pain. The point of wearing orthotics is to reduce the amount of pain experienced from participating in activities. If wearing them causes pain, it’s time for a new pair.
- Lifestyle changes. If something has happened that changes the body such as pregnancy or surgery, it’s time for a new pair of orthotics that are customized to accommodate these changes and reduce pain and discomfort.
- How often they are worn. Using orthotics for sports activities will cause them to wear out faster than if they are being used for day-to-day activities. To stay active, get them replaced as soon as possible.
Orthotics also allow people to participate longer in walking, running, or other sports, which is imperative to overall health. Talking to a podiatrist such as Sheldon Nadal, D.P.M., to find out if orthotics can be beneficial is a great plan.
Both heat and ice are viable options when it comes to treating an injury, but knowing which one is appropriate for what type of injury is important. Below are some guidelines to help patients determine if ice or heat is best to treat a foot or ankle injury.
When it comes to an injury that causes swelling or is acute (this means the injury is recent or the pain or inflammation is intense), ice is usually the best treatment. It reduces swelling, inflammation, and pain.
Swelling and inflammation are vital parts of the healing process. However, if left untreated, swelling can cause further damage. For an injury that has occurred within the past 48 hours that has inflammation, icing is therefore important to aid healing.
There are a variety of different ice packs, including gel packs that can be bought at a drugstore. However, bags of ice or frozen vegetables can be just as effective. To apply an ice pack properly, follow the guidelines below.
- Never place the ice pack directly on the skin. This can cause frostbite or other skin damage. Make sure there is a barrier such as a thin towel between the pack and the skin.
- Never ice for longer than 15 to 20 minutes. Again, this can cause damage to the skin. It’s possible to ice more than once a day, but limit those times to 15 to 20 minutes each.
- Remove the ice pack if it causes a tingling sensation or turns the skin bright red.
These treatments are often used for chronic conditions (injuries that are persistent or have been around for a long time). The heat promotes blood flow to the affected area and loosens stiff joints or tight muscles.
Using heat treatments effectively and safely is important to reduce burns and to ensure that joints or muscles are properly loosened to reduce pain. Items that can be used to apply heat include a towel that has been placed in the dryer, a heating pad (preferably with various heat settings), or bags that are filled with rice, wheat, or other ingredients that are heated in the microwave (be careful these don’t catch fire!).
Knowing whether to use heat or ice for foot and ankle injuries will depend on whether the pain comes from an acute injury or a chronic one. Talking to a podiatrist such as Sheldon Nadal, D.P.M., can help determine which treatment is best.
Feet are an incredibly important part of the body. They enable us to walk and move, and when they hurt, it’s hard to get around. There are a variety of different ailments that can impact feet, and one of them is a neuroma.
While this condition can happen to either men or women, it is more commonly found in women. A neuroma is a benign growth on nerve tissues, usually between the third and fourth toes, that causes pain, tingling, numbness, or a burning sensation in the ball of the foot or between the toes. Sometimes, it is referred to as a pinched nerve.
The exact cause of a neuroma is unknown, but there are several factors that may contribute to its development. These include flat feet or high-arched feet, which contribute to instability around the toe joints. Shoes that squeeze toes together or put pressure on the front part of the foot, such as heels taller than 2 inches, can lead to the development of a neuroma. An accident or trauma to this part of the foot that causes nerve damage can also result in a neuroma. Repeated stress may also lead to the formation of a neuroma.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Determining whether or not a neuroma has developed is best left to a podiatrist. However, it’s possible to find some relief in a variety of other ways until you have a confirmed diagnosis. These include the following:
- Make sure shoes have room for toes to move so that they aren’t squeezed together
- Avoid shoes with heels that are over 2 inches tall since this puts pressure on the front part of the foot
- Use a toe insert for added cushioning or make sure the soles of shoes are thick and cushioned to reduce pressure on the foot
- Rest and massage the foot, and use an ice pack, to help alleviate some of the pain from a neuroma
If these measures don’t relieve the symptoms associated with a neuroma, there are some other methods that can be tried. These include the following:
- Use tape or padding to relieve pressure on the front part of the foot
- Take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications to reduce swelling and discomfort
- Wear custom orthotics to reduce the pain and discomfort associated with this ailment
If none of these treatments work and a neuroma continues to make life miserable, it may require surgical intervention. Talk to a podiatrist as Sheldon Nadal, D.P.M, to determine the best course of treatment.
We all train for various reasons: to keep fit, to increase our distance, to compete in a number of different racing platforms, or to just have a more active lifestyle. Whatever category you fall into, we just all want to achieve one thing: to reach our goal injury-free!
We find that a lot of injuries occur due to repetitive stress – when soft tissues (muscles or tendons) are loaded repetitively or incorrectly. This creates an increased force over a tendon, joint or ligament for prolonged periods and it can ultimately cause these structures to fail.
Fortunately, there are some clever training tips and shoe advice that can help us achieve that one goal when it comes to running training. Check out these tips to stop repetitive forces from ruining your run:
When you are running, make sure to throw in some sprint training into your runs. You can also mix up a long distance run with some interval training which can help you strengthen your stamina. You can also take yourself to a track and just focus purely on interval training.
If, for instance, you continually run the same route, then this means that you are continually running that same road with the same camber, and the same hill at the same time in the whole course of your runs. This also means that you are undergoing the same force patterning every time you run on that route. You can try and change routes once in a while.
When you are running, do you swap the surfaces you run on? Or perhaps you continually run on the pavement, or the grass, or even on the sand? Studies have found that trail runners basically experience less repetitive stress runs than other runners. Why? Because their terrain changes all the time, and so their force input changes as well.
Taking everything above into account, changing the shoes you wear for your different training scenarios is also a must. For instance, if you are constantly running in just one pair of shoes, then your force input and loading are the same for your every run. You should look for shoes that have a thicker midsole, and a higher heel height. You need such shoes if you are doing long distance running if you want to get more miles under your belt. Smaller, lighter weight shoes with reduced heel stack racing will work better for faster runs or speed work.
If you need more help on which footwear you should look at for your different training needs, then our podiatrist, Sheldon H. Nadal, DPM, can surely help you out! Setup an appointment with him today.
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