Dealing with sore feet
We have all had sore feet at one point or the other. It can make things like standing, walking, running, dancing, or working extremely difficult. Unfortunately, most people do not pay attention to their feet until they are sore. Usually a symptom of an underlying problem or condition, our feet can become sore due to overuse, a condition such as plantar fasciitis , or bunions. The soreness may be felt in the arch, in the ball of the foot, or in the heel.
Typical symptoms are:
• Tenderness to the touch
• Aching, dull pain
• Pain felt in other areas of the body, such as ankles, knees, hips or back
• Difficulty walking
• Difficulty wearing shoes.
Varied things or conditions can contribute to sore feet. It can range from simple, to complex issues.
Simple causes include:
• Improper footwear or ill-fitting footwear
• A new pair of shoes
• Muscle strain
• Foot trauma
• Sports injury
• Ligament strain
• Flat feet
More serious causes encompass:
• Foot fracture/broken foot/sprained ankle/ankle strain
• Plantar warts
• Bone tumour
• Koehler’s disease
• Athlete’s foot
• Achilles tendonitis
• Blocked arteries
• Foot ulcer
• Foot disorder
• Foot deformity
• Plantar fasciitis
• Morton’s neuroma
• Nerve entrapment
• Tarsal tunnel syndrome
Naturally these are just some of the possible causes as the list can be never ending. If you start experiencing any of these, or the symptoms listed above, seek medical attention from a podiatrist or your GP for a proper diagnosis. Finding the underlying cause will enable you to minimise or eliminate the soreness, and possibly prevent a major problem from occurring.
Remember, soreness can be caused by any of the twenty-six bones, 33 joints, or the more than 100 muscles, ligaments, and tendons in the foot. However, the areas most likely to experience soreness are:
• Toes: Broken toe, bunions, hallux rigidus, turf toe, and hallux limitus
• Ball of foot: Metatarsalgia and Morton’s neuroma
• Arch: Flat feet, fallen arches, high arches plantar warts and overpronation
• Heel: Plantar fasciitis, heel spurs, calluses and dry/cracked heels.
Diagnosing the condition
Being able to identify your symptoms, the severity of it, and the localised area of pain or discomfort, is critical. If you can identify a pattern, it would be helpful to your practitioner in establishing a possible trend by way of footwear, activities that have, or can be causing or contributing to the problem. Varied tests/scans may be carried out which include:
• Physical examination
• Blood tests, to rule out conditions such as diabetes
• Imaging tests such as x-rays, ultrasounds, MRI’s and CT scans to rule out fractures, strains and sprains
• Electromyelogram (EMG), to rule out neuropathy
• Synovial joint fluid aspiration, to rule out joint-related problems
After diagnosis, your podiatrist/doctor will be able to create an appropriate treatment plan for you. There are a variety of options, the most common of which are:
• RICE method (Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation)
• Soaking feet in warm water
• Stretching exercises (such as for Plantar Fasciitis)
• Over-the-counter medication to reduce pain, eg ibuprofen or aspirin
• Weight loss
• Electrical therapy if it is nerve related
• Sauna treatments
• Orthotics (Arch Supports)
• Aqua therapy
In most cases, sore feet can be eliminated with a little TLC during the times when you are not up and around. Since the most common cause of a sore foot is overuse, if you have no choice but to be on your feet, you may benefit from shoes that offer more support, foot and ankle stability, and protection.
These are things that should be discussed with your podiatrist before purchasing shoes.
The treatment options listed above can also be used as preventive measures. For example, performing stretching exercises before bed, before getting out of bed in the morning, and before and after any type of exercise routine, can prevent sore feet by allowing the muscles to warm up before exertion.
If you are gaining weight for reasons other than pregnancy, you can also try to prevent sore feet and additional symptoms by losing weight in a healthy way. Eating right can also give your muscles and bones the nutrients they need to stay strong and healthy.
Doing saunas and massages are good for the body’s lymphatic system, and should be done fair regularly anyway.
Your feet mirror your general health . . . cherish them!
Leana Huntley is an English trained foot health practitioner attached to
ALMAWI Limited The Holistic clinic. Contact the Clinic at firstname.lastname@example.org Tuesday – Saturday. Visit the website at www.almawiclinic.com.