Have you got foot pain? Want to know how to get rid of it once and for all? Here at shoewawa we have devised this foot friendly guide to help you get back on your feet and wearing the shoes that you love. In this guide we will help you better understand what is causing your foot pain and the best course of action to help treat it.
Common causes of foot pain
Foot sprains and strains
A foot sprain is when the ligament (Ligaments are the strong bands of fibrous tissue which attach bones to one another within a joint.)
found in your foot is twisted, stretched or torn. A sprain occurs when there is an injury to a ligament, whilst a foot strain is a result of an injury to a muscle or tendon in the foot.
Foot sprains frequently occur in individuals that have instabilities in their feet and ankles typically caused by other foot problems such as arthritis or biomechanical imbalances. Sprains are also very common if when running you switch direction or pace abruptly, awkwardly land on your feet, or collide with another object or person, for example, when playing football.
There is 3 different levels of foot sprains that can occur.
Grade 1, mild sprains. Which is when you have a slightly twisted or torn a ligament in your foot.
Grade 2 moderate sprains. which is when have torn the ligament quite a bit.
Grade 3, severe sprains. Which is when you have totally torn the ligament from the bone.
Symptoms of a foot sprain include:
Symptoms often include pain and soreness around the arch of the foot., which may also be felt underneath, on top, or along the sides of the foot. Sufferers may also have a swollen or bruised foot and experience discomfort and pain whilst walking or bear weight on the foot.
If you have sprained your foot there are a number of different treatments that you can try including: For mild and moderate sprains you can apply RICE which stands for rest, ice, compression and elevation, you can find out more about RICE below. For short term relief a doctor can prescribe to you anti inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen to help lessen inflammation and pain. Also you can wear orthotic insoles which can to correct and instability in the feet which may have caused you to sprain your ankle. The less severe sprains often heal fairly quickly, often individuals will feel fairly ‘normal’ again within 8-10 days.
Whilst the more severe sprains usually take a lot longer to heal and can sometimes require surgery. If you do not have surgery, a severe sprain can stay swollen and painful for many months.
You can avoid foot sprains by making sure to wear stiff-soled shoes that stabilize the foot. adequate stretching and warming up before exercise or playing sport can also help you to avoid spraining your feet.
Gout is a type of inflammatory arthritis. Gout is actually one of the most widesporead types of arthritis and roughly affects roughly 1 in 50 people in the UK. If you have gout you will usually experience serious and worsening pain around the affected joint, as well as the affected joint becoming hot and inflamed and feeling extremely sensitive. Gout is brought by the prevalence uric acid in the blood. Uric acid is a by-product of purines found in many different foods that we eat. When uric acid accumulates, it can form crystals which can result in rapid painful inflammation in the joint lining. The small joint at the base of the big toe is the most common place for gout to occur. The risk of you developing gout is far are greater if you happen to be overweight, consume an excessive amount of alcohol or eat a lot of meat or fish. If you suspect that you are suffering from gout, it is vital that you speak with a medical professional as soon as possible.
Verrucas are small growths that usually develop on the soles of the feet. A Verruca often looks like a small lump on the skin, often surrounded by callus skin. Verrucae are plantar warts which more often than not occur on the soles of the feet or around the toe area. Verrucas are brought on by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) which can be extremely contagious through direct person to person contact. Most warts and verrucas go away by themselves but they can last up to two years in children and up to 10 years in adults. We are especially prone if our immune system is weakened – if we’re tired or run We’re also more susceptible to verrucas if the skin on our feet is broken by scratches or cuts and touches rough surfaces contaminated with the virus. Verrucas can be treated with over-the-counter treatments, such as:
gels, creams,s and medicated plasters formulated with salicylic acid – that burn the top layer of affected skin off.
cold sprays that use dimethyl ether propane – which work by freezing the wart off.
You are able to stop yourself from getting verrucas by making sure that you wear well ventilated shoes and regularly washing your feet.
Blisters, corns and calluses
Blisters, calluses, and corns can be very uncomfortable and are very common but the good news is that they’re also pretty easy to prevent and get rid of!
-Blisters occur when the epidermis (outermost layer) of the skin becomes seprates away from the other layers of skin and fluid fills the gap created between the layers of skin.
-Corns on the other hand are hardened areas of skin on the body, which develop on the feet and hands, and are brought on by friction on the skin. A hard corn is a small patch of hardened, dead skin with a central core. A soft corn is lot thinner a lot less hard and generally arises on the smaller toes. Foot deformities for example , bunions might trigger the development of a corn, as they help to increase friction between adjacent toes.
-Calluses are areas of thick, hard dead skin which often form on the heel and sole of the foot, and occasionally on the hands too. Elderly people have a tendency to suffer from calluses more than younger individuals.
One of the best things that you can do to avoid blisters, corns and calluses is to wear good, supportive shoes with a wide toe box, laces and a heel that is not too high. Wearing heel grips that help to stabilize your feet and stop them from moving around and rubbing against the surface of your shoes can also help.
A bunion is a bony deformity of the big toe joint which usually causes an growth of the bone or tissue on the big toe joint, creating an irregular lump on the side of the foot. Bunions are generally triggered by an inherited structural foot imbalance which usually make a person susceptible to getting a bunion. Bunions often get worse over time and cause pain, problems walking, and skin problems such as corns and blisters.
Bunions might require treatment if the deformity is extreme and you encounter serious pain and discomfort from having one.
Wearing the right kind of shoes is essential if you want to avoid getting a bunion or prevent one from getting worse. Pick shoes which have a wide toe box and discard shoes which have high heels or narrow toe boxes, that could worsen the condition. In case you are unsure of what shoes to buy you should talk to a Podiatrist and get them to look at your feet thoroughly for biomechanical issues to find out what the best shoes are for you.
You can also try Bunion pads that help protect your foot from rubbing on your shoe and relieve the pressure over the enlarged joint at the base of your big toe or a pair of Orthotics insoles placed inside your shoes which help realign the bones of your foot and will provide your feet with extra comfort, support, and protection. You can find out more about treating bunions here.
An ingrown toenail occurs when the sides of the toenail grow into the bordering skin. In the event that an ingrown toenail gets infected, It may become painful, red, and swollen, and it may produce pus.
The main cause of ingrown toe nails is poor choice of footwear, specifically ill-fitting shoes, such as shoes with insufficient toe-box room and tight stockings which put pressure to the top or side of the foot. Another common cause to ingrown toenails is from cutting your toenail too short or rounding the edges of the nail. Ingrown nails can be easily prevented by cutting nails straight across; not along a curve, not too short, and no shorter than the skin surrounding it. You must also wear shoes which have a wide toe box that do not place pressure on the toe nails to cause them to grow inward. If you cannot remove an ingrown toenail yourself it is recommend that you go see a podiatrists who will careful remove the ingrown toenail for you and will be able to provide you with information and techniques to help stop it from reoccurring.
Plantar Fasciitis is an inflammation of the plantar fascia, The plantar fascia is the strong stretchy piece of connective tissue which helps to support the sole of the foot and connects the heel to the toes. As we walk or run, it stretches and contracts. this continuous action can cause the plantar fascia to become strained and micro tears can develop on the plantar fascia, causing plantar fasciitis (You can read more about how the foot and plantar fascia work here). Over-use, wearing poorly fitted shoes, and standing for long periods of time can all increase your risk of damaging the plantar fascia and developing plantar fasciitis. When you have plantar fasciitis, the most common symptom is pain and stiffness underneath your heel. This pain can be either dull or sharp and can often feel like a deep ache or cause a burning sensation along your foot. The pain is often worse when taking the first steps in the morning as a consequence of the shortened position the fascia takes on during sleep.
Pain usually get worse over time if left untreated.
Keeping your heel rested, doing frequent foot stretches, taking painkillers and wearing supportive shoes can all help to lessen the symptoms of plantar fasciitis.
Rice is often used to help lessen inflammation and swelling of the affected foot. Orthotic insoles are also used to provide arch support, reducing stress on the plantar fascia. Studies show orthotics reduce pain and may even boost functional ability in individuals with plantar fasciitis. Foot orthotics are also used to help correct biomechanical imbalances such as over pronation and supination which maybe causing the plantar fasciitis.
If you have heel pain, you should speak with your doctor who will be able to advise on the best treatment. You can also read our handy guide that cover plantar fasciitis in more depth here.
Morton’s neuroma is a painful foot complaint which affects the nerves between the toes. A neuroma is growth (benign tumour) that grows on the nerve cells of the big toe. Morton’s neuroma is usually found in either the second or the third gap between the base of the big toe. Those suffering from Morton’s neuroma usually suffer from burning pain in the ball of the foot which often radiates into the toes as well as consatnt pain, numbness or soreness in the toes. The pain typically gets worse during activity or wearing shoes. You can get Morton’s neuroma at any age, but more often than not it usually affects middle-aged women. This is largely because middle ages women are more susceptible to developing this condition because they tend to wear tight or high-heeled shoes, which can put excessive pressure on the feet.
Change your shoes. Avoid wearing high heels or tight shoes, and wear shoes with a wide toe box, lower heels and have a soft sole. This allows the toe bones to spread out and will lessen pressure on the nerve, allowing it time to properly heal. Orthotic insoles and pads also help to ease discomfort by raising and separating the bones, lessening the pressure on the nerve. Corticosteroid injection can help to minimize the swelling and inflammation of the nerve, which may help to provide some pain relief.
Metatarsalgia is pain in the ball of the foot. It impacts the metatarsals, the bones that attach the ankle bones to the toes..
Just about anything that places excessive stress on the front of the foot can bring about Metatarsalgia. and because must endure a lot of pressure because they help to support your weight when you’re standing, walking and running it is not surprising that a lot of people get this foot injury.
Common causes of Metatarsalgia include but are not limited to;-obesity, -wearing high-heeled shoes,-biomechanical imbalances for example certain foot shapes can make people more prone to this condition through placing more pressure on the metatarsals bones, -Suffering from claw or hammer toes that press the metatarsals downwards, -a inflexible ankle that is unable to properly move upwards can also cause extra strain on the metatarsal area and cause Metatarsalgia. You might also develop it if you participate in activities that involve running and jumping.
Those suffering from metatarsalgia will often suffer from a wide variety of symptoms including feeling as though you have a small pebble inside your shoe when you walk, Sharp, soreness or sharp pain in the ball of your foot, shooting pain, numbness, or tingling in your toes.
More often than not pain will usually get worse whenever you stand, run, or walk – specifically if you are walking barefoot on a hard surface – but eases when you rest your feet.
Treatment of metatarsal pain requires identifying and dealing with any structural or bio-mechanical causes.
A podiatrist can look at your foot positioning and gait and will be able to judge what should be done to deal with your metatarsal. In some cases custom orthotics or insoles can prescribed to help improve the movement of the foot in order to stop pressure on the ball of the foot. Metatarsal pads are can also be used. Metatarsal pads are basically cushioned inserts which fit on the ball of your foot, supporting weight and forcing the toes to spread out, letting your toes splay like this helps to prevent biomechanical imbalances such as over pronating taking pressure off the metatarsal bones in the process.
The pain and stiffness you feel in your feet and ankles as you grow older could be arthritis.
Arthritis in the feet can be caused by wear and tear, resulting in the swelling of tissues in and around the joints, such as the big toe and heel joints. The preliminary symptoms of foot arthritis are of pain and swelling, soreness, and stiffness of the joints. Foot deformation is a real problem if you suffer from arthritis in your feet and can develop extremely quickly – Some people can get foot deformities after only 6 months if the arthritis is not properly treated.
Proper treatment of foot and ankle arthritis should deal with both pain and joint deformity. Wearing orthotics insoles for shoes that help to correct biomechanical imbalances and reduce pressure on your feet, making use of walking canes or crutches can also help to lessen swelling and help improve your mobility. You should also ensure that your shoes have arch support, are wide enough for your feet, and are comfortable enough to minimize any pain you may feel.
The Achilles tendon is the strongest tendon found in your body and its job is to connect your calf muscles to your heel. The Achilles tendon is used to for walking,, running, jumping and helping you stand on the balls of your feet. Constant, excessive physical activity, such as running and jumping, can cause the Achilles tendon to become inflamed and painful, when this happens it is called Achilles tendinitis. Achilles tendinitis injuries make up around 8%-15% of all running injuries, and is more common amongst men than it is in women. Symptoms comprise of pain and stiffness along the back of the ankle which usually gets worse over time and often is more painful first thing in the morning. You will find two types of Achilles tendinitis, acute or chronic. Generally, non-surgical treatment options are sufficient and can aid with your recovery, however it can take a several months for the Achilles to fully heal.
Supportive shoes and orthotics. Pain associated with Achilles tendinitis is normally helped by certain shoes, and also orthotic devices. Such as, shoes which have been made softer at the back of the heel to reduce irritation of the tendon. On top of that, heel lifts can take some strain off the tendon. Heel lifts can also be extremely beneficial for patients with tendinitis because they can move the heel away from the back of the shoe, where rubbing can arise. Additionally they can reduce strain off the tendon. Like a heel lift, a silicone Achilles sleeve can stop irritation from the back of a shoe.
If your pain is severe, your doctor may suggest wearing walking boots, in order to give the tendon a chance to rest before any treatment is started. Prolonged use of a boot is discouraged, as they can damage your calf muscle. Your doctor might suggest surgery if you’re young and active, or an athlete, however it will matter on where your tendon is ruptured. If the rupture is located above, the point at which your tendon connects with your calf muscle, for example, surgery will not be possible. You should consult your doctor if this is an option for you.
Oedema is a build up of fluid in the body which usually causes the affected tissue to become swollen and in some cases painful. Oedema is most prevalent in the feet and ankles but can also develop just about part of the body too.
Risk factors comprise of extended periods of sitting or standing (causing fluid to build up in the feet), high blood pressure, heart failure (when the heart is not able to pump blood around your body fast enough to remove fluid your feet), or kidney problems. In case you believe you have oedema, you should let your nurse or doctor know. They will be able to then advise you on ways to help. Wearing well fitted shoes and non elastic socks that do not dig into the ankles or restrict blood flow can help.
Diabetic foot problems
People with diabetes have a far greater risk of developing problems with their feet this is due to the damage raised blood sugars can cause loss of sensation and circulation to your the feet. Gradually, diabetes may well contribute to nerve damage, also referred to as diabetic neuropathy, which unfortunately can cause tingling and pain, and could make you lose feeling in your feet. If you suffer from neuropathy it means that you are at significantly higher risk of a foot conditions as you are unable to sense when your feet are becoming aggravated or damaged.
Quick tips on how to look after your feet if you have diabetes:
-Try to keep your feet moisturised
-Wear properly fitted shoes.
-Avoid walking bare foot
-Keep your feet clean at all times to prevent infection.
-Make sure to check your feet for signs of damage on a daily basis
-Make sure to control your blood glucose levels to help prevent nerve damage and keep your feet as healthy as possible.
–Wear non elastic diabetic socks designed to not restrict your blood flow or dig into your ankles when wearing them.
Common foot pain treatments
Most common foot complaints can be tackled through dealing with their underlining causes which are more often than not biomechanical imbalances. Biomechanical imbalances can be corrected through wearing the correct footwear and changing your insoles to ones that are more supportive and appropriate for your foot type.
For instant pain relief it is recommend to try RICE treatment and use anti inflammatory drugs to help ease pain and reduce inflammation.
Wearing orthotic insoles
Wearing orthotic insoles. Orthotic insoles help to re position your feet into a more natural position. This helps to correct biomechanical imbalances such as excessive pronation of the feet during the gait cycle, which may be causing stress and strain on bones, ligaments and tendons found in your feet. Orthotic insoles also help to support your feet and protect them from damaging shocks that can make worsen your injury and foot pain giving your feet time to heal on their own.
Buy better shoes.
Tight, poorly fitted shoes are one the most common causes of foot injuries. Making sure to buy shoes that are the right size and and give your feet the protection and support they need is a must if you want to get rid of your foot pain.
Rice is widely used in the physiotherapy world to treat a number of foot injuries. There are 4 different stages to rice which are as follows:
1.Rest—Rest the injured foot and keep the injured foot evaluated. Any form of weight bearing can worsen your foot injury so walking, running or playing sports is out of the question.
2.Ice your foot to prevent or reduce swelling and pain. Wrap a cloth around an ice pack and apply it gently to the affected foot for 20 minutes througout the day a day. Using ice for longer than 20 minutes can result in injury.
3.Compression: You can either wrap an injured foot in an elastic bandage, or buy a compression sleeve. Just like with ice, compression will help to reduce swelling and inflammation.
4.Elevation. Keep the affected foot elevated. Elevation allows gravity to drain the fluid out of the foot helping to reduce swelling which in turn can help to decrease the pain associated with the oedema (swelling).
If you have any more questions regarding foot pain or anything discussed in our guide then please do not hesitate to post your questions using the comment form below. Alternatively you can sign up to our forum and post your questions there too!