Although each part of the human body has its importance for the good function as a whole, our feet sometimes seem to be one of the most important as they are carrying the whole body around, throughout the day.
Therefore, it is crucial to take good care of them in order to have a great balance and happy days.
So, do not take your feet for granted and look after them. Do not forget: happy feet = happy you.
Unfortunately, some of us are dealing with one or more foot problems and trying to find the best solution to solve it, whether is with the help of classic medicine or alternative solution ones.
For those of us who do lots of walking, foot problems can put us through some excruciating pain, and although we experience pain, we rather not give up walking but find ways to heal our feet as soon as possible.
9 Foot Problems, Their Effect On Your Walking And Treatment Ideas
- Plantar Fasciitis
Foot problem fasciitis is the most common heel pain and is caused by the inflammation of the plantar fascia, which is a band tissue across the bottom of your foot that connects your toes to your heel bone. His role is to act as a shock-absorber and support the arch of your foot.
The pain feels like stabbing near the heel, on the bottom of your foot, and happens when you take your first steps in the morning and/or after long periods of standing and rising from sitting a long time, but also after an intense sport (running).
The pain decreases ones you start moving and stretching.
People with an increased risk of plantar fasciitis are:
- Those who engage in activities that put stress on the heel and the attached tissue: runners, jumpers, ballet and aerobic dance.
- Overweight, as it puts extra stress on the sole of their feet.
- Those wearing inadequate shoes, that offer little or none support. If the weight of the body is not being evenly distributed on the sole of your feet it puts lots of stress on the plantar fascia, giving you the pain.
- People with certain jobs which requires a lot of standing on hard surfaces and walking: factory workers, teachers, etc.
Treatments for foot problem fasciitis include the following:
- Pain killers to reduce inflammation and pain, rest, ice, and stretch the sole of the feet can help over several months.
- Exercises to stretch the plantar fascia and to strengthen lower leg muscles in order to stabilise your heel and ankle.
- You could use:
Plantar Fasciitis Socks With Arch Support
These two will to give more support to the bottom of your foot.
Also, you can wear a splint while you sleep to help stretch your calf and the arch of your foot.
Also, use fitted arch support to help distribute evenly the weight and pressure to your feet.
If none of the above help and the pain increases disrupting your daily activities, you might need medical intervention such as injecting medication to help with the pain, surgery or other invasive procedures.
2. Achilles Tendinitis
It is an injury of the Achilles tendon, which is the strip of tissue connecting calf muscles at the back of the lower leg to the heel bone. We use the tendon every time we walk, run, jump or even when we push up on our toes.
The pain usually begins as a mild ache in the back of the leg or above the heel after an intense exercise (running). Also, might manifest as tenderness or stiffness (especially in the morning) which generally gets better with gentle activities and stretches. Long distance running, stair climbing or sprinting may lead to severe pain.
People with an increased risk of Achilles tendinitis are:
- Middle-aged people, mostly men, which engage in sports activities only over the weekend such as tennis, basketball. This is due to the fact that the Achilles tendon weakens with age which can make it more prone to injuries.
- Obesity, a flat arch in your foot and tight calf muscle can put more tension on the tendon.
- Inadequate shoes, especially running shoes and hilly terrain can increase risk of injury.
- Conditions such as psoriasis or high blood pressure and some antibiotics have been associated with higher risks of injury.
Prevention and treatments include the following:
- Increase your activity level (duration and intensity) gradually. Avoid activities that put excessive strain on your tendons (hill running) or warm up first.
- Use daily exercises to stretch Achilles tendon and strengthen your calf muscles, especially in the morning, and before and after exercise to maintain flexibility in your tendons and muscles and prevent the recurrence of the Achilles tendinitis.
- Alternate high impact exercise (running, jumping) with lower impact activities (swimming, cycling).
- Choose shoes that provide excellent arch and heel support.
Elevate and provide cushioning to your heel to relieve some strain on the tendon. Avoid using worn out shoes.
Most cases can be treated at home with self-care approach but a frequent injury can lead to tendon rupture that may require surgical repair.
3. Morton’s Neuroma
The symptoms of foot problem morton’s neuroma feel like a sharp or burning pain in the ball of the foot (or toes), or the sensation as if you are standing on a pebble or on a fold in your sock inside the shoe. The area usually affected is between 3rd and 4th toes.
People with increased risk of foot problem morton’s neuroma are:
- Those wearing high heeled shoes or ill-fitted shoes which put pressure on your toes. The foot problems high heels are one of the main foot problem UK.
- Those who have bunions, hammertoes, flatfeet or arches.
- People engaging in activities that expose their feet to repetitive trauma (jogging or running) or requires the use of tighter shoes (snow skiing, rock climbing) putting more pressure on the toes.
Prevention and treatments for foot problem morton’s neuroma :
- Change your shoes and wear lower heeled shoes with a wider toe area.
- Take anti-inflammatory medications and ice massage.
- If you are practising a certain sport that might pressure the feet, take a break.
- If symptoms do not improve in a few days after trying the above solutions, you need to see a doctor who might recommend injections and/or surgery.
Is a bony bump on the base of your big toe joint with the skin red and sore but not necessarily. Smaller ones can also build upon the little toe joint.
They are not always painful. To some people do not cause problems, but to others can give pain or complications such as:
- Persistent or intermittent pain and restricted movement of the toe if having arthritis.
- Bursitis is a painful condition due to the fact that pads that cushion the bones, tendons and muscles near the joints become inflamed.
- Metatarsalgia causes pain and inflammation in the ball of your foot.
Increased risk of developing bunions are people hereditary predisposed, suffer from rheumatic arthritis or wear ill-fitted shoes (to tights and narrow).
Prevention and treatments include the following:
Wear comfortable, cushioning shoes with enough room for the toes and avoid high heels and pointy-toe shoes. The foot problems high heels are one of the main foot problem UK.
You can only correct them with surgery but you can use:
Splinting to reduce stress on the bunion and your pain
Padded Arch Supports The Pressure
Use pain killers and ice to reduce inflammation and pain. Your doctor might recommend you cortisone injections if needed.
5. Corns And Calluses
The foot problem corns and calluses are hardened layers of skin due to rubbing and pressure on toes, feet, hands and fingers, which can cause discomfort and pain, especially when walking.
Usually, disappear after you remove the source of friction or pressure.
The increased risk of foot problem corns and calluses is for people:
- With medical problems that cause poor blood flow to your feet (diabetes).
- Suffering foot deformities that can cause constant rubbing inside the shoe (bunions, hammertoe, bone spur)
- Who wear ill-fitted shoes and socks (too tight or too loose), or those skipping socks, especially when wearing sandals.
Prevention and treatments for foot problem corns and calluses include the following:
- Wear comfortable shoes and socks, with plenty of toes room.
- Soak your feet to soften the corn and calluses and try to remove the hardened skin with a pumice stone (not for a diabetic) or nail file. Do not use sharp objects. Use some protection to prevent further damage and give time to heal.
Corn Remover Plasters
Flet Corn Pads
The latter can help with other foot problems that might actually cause all the rubbing and pressure.
If the self-care did not healed but worsens and gives you a lot of pain you must see a doctor who might recommend medication or tend to your problem by trimming away excess skin to avoid infection.
6. Flat feet
It is when the entire sole of your feet is flattened and can be since childhood if your arches did not develop, or can occur later in life due to injury or simply wear and tear over the years.
Sometimes they can be the reason for your knees and ankles pain as the condition can alter the alignment of your legs.
Pain can be caused if engaged in high impact activities (jumping, running). However, the lower impact activity, such as walking should not be causing you pain.
When in pain: rest, avoid high impact exercise, and use pain killers.
Also, it helps to use :
Weight Loss to reduce pressure on the sole of your feet and do stretching exercises
It is a malformation where the middle joint of the toe is unusual bend causing pain and pressure.
The risk increases with age and is more likely to be an issue among women.
Also, heredity, certain disease (arthritis, diabetes) and having the second toe longer than the big one makes you at higher risk at developing the problem.
To prevent and/or aid the problem wear comfortable shoes with enough toe room and low heels, as well as use insoles to relieve pressure.
It is the condition of one or more of your joints inflamed giving you pain, stiffness, swelling, redness and decreased motion. Most commonly affects joints in hands, knees, hips and spine.
The most common forms are:
- Osteoarthritis occurring when the protective cartilage on the ends of the bones wears down over time. If it wears down completely the bone will be rubbing on bone giving you great pain.
- Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder targeting the lining of the joints.
People most at risk are women in older age, or with bone deformities, those overweight (extra pressure on the joints), who had any joint injuries or have a job with repetitive stress on a particular joint. Also, it might be hereditary.
The condition cannot be reversed but can be managed effectively by improving the quality of your life and using treatments to reduce pain and symptoms:
Stay active engaging in gentle exercises, especially walking which is the best for this. Walking not only helps to keep your joints and muscles flexible but also helps you to get to a healthy weight
Use treatments to slow progression, tackle pain and improve joint function:
Knee Strapping Tape
Use the cane in the opposite hand of the leg you hurting (hopefully not both) for walking to take the pressure off the joint. Use gripping and grabbing tools if the problem is in your fingers.
9. Nail infections
-Nail Infections, anti-fugal nail polish
Ways To Tackle Feet Problems
If you have a more serious condition and you are worried or you just want to go for preventive measures the best advice is to consult a podiatrist – the feet doctor. He can check your feet and solve most of the issues such as reconstruct toenails, treat ingrown or fungal nails, corn, calluses, cracked heels. He can also recommend further treatment for a more serious condition.
How To Prevent Foot Problems
For those of us whom are lucky enough to have healthy feet and not experienced ever any foot problems, the best advice is to take care of them and consider the following X tips to prevent any possible issues arising in the future.
1. Always use the right footwear.
Flip flops are not for walking but just stroll around the pool and from the car park to the beach, or use them in communal showers. Using them for longer walking you expose your feet to the possibilities of getting blisters and insect bites, which if untreated can cause further damage to your feet.
If walking long distances invest in a well-made pair of shoes. Check out our article:❗👉 ‘Urban shoes: 11 styles of walking shoes’ to get you inspired about things to consider before buying walking shoes.
2. Cushioning insoles.
In today’s market, we can find a variety of insole type, from the orthopaedic featured once to the memory cushioned ones and many more in between.
I love the memory foam insoles. Because I am lucky enough to have healthy feet, I can go for the insoles that give me the most comfort and happy feeling. And what can be greater than the feeling of your feet happily sinking and getting the support at the right places?
If you are not sure about the type of insoles are best for you it is good to ask for advice before buying.
You can do thorough research on the internet beforehand to get the idea of what types of insoles are there, the quality, price, etc. or you can consult with a podiatrist or the shop keeper.
Also, when researching the wide web do not forget to look at the reviews and see what people are saying about the product if they are happy or not with the purchase. Generally, more stars a product has meant the customers were pleased with the product.
Personally, I always look for products that have all 5 stars as it means that different people with a different type of feet bought it and were happy with it. So it might be that the insoles are adapted to accommodate different types of feet and problems.
3. Take good care of your toenails
Looking after your toenails are not only as a health benefit but they are also for aesthetics.
The sandals and open-toe shoes season is just around the corner and well-groomed nails delight the eye and emphasise the beauty of the feet and the shoes you are wearing. So, it is time to start paying a lot of attention to our toenails.
But, although we are encouraged or somehow even forced to care more for our toenails once the spring it’s here, this activity must never stop. Especially in the winter, our feet need continuous tending for health but also for our own daily benefit.
I do not know if more of you experienced this, but I for one can say that looking down my feet and seeing nicely done and groomed toenails make me smile and gives me a boost of confidence. They look so pretty.
4. Pamper your heels.
5. Be cautious when using public areas, such as pools, beaches and communal showers as they might be filthy and full of different bacteria.
Use beach footwear on the sand to avoid hidden sharp things. Unfortunately, some of us are still accommodating to being self-conscious about the environment and fail to pick up the trash from the public spaces, so you never know what might be under the first layer of sand, where your foot might sink in.
Use flip flops around the pool and in the communal areas to prevent direct contact of your feet with the ground, avoiding bacteria. Wash well with soap and lots of water to get rid of any impurities and bacteria you might have picked up from the public places.
I think that we can all agree that footwear is the most important feature to prevent and/or treat foot problems. So opt for the most comfortable and wide enough to feel your toes wiggle freely, cushioning the shape of your foot.
Also, insoles or orthotic devices can help with most of the feet conditions and with abnormal gait patterns.
Stay away from high heels and pointy toe shoes as they are the source of many feet deformities. The foot problems high heels are one of the main foot problem UK.
But most of all, I want the point out that walking is the best exercise as is a low impact activity with a wide list of benefits that prevents foot problems, whether is directly or indirectly. It tackles obesity, blood circulation and many more.
However, do not overdo it – always listen to your body and always plan ahead so you can be able to manage to return from your walk safe and on your own feet.
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Until next time, I wish you all happy feet.
Oana & Paula