Aug 16 2016
Unlike many other bodily pains and discomforts, it’s often difficult to locate the exact cause of foot trouble; even more frustrating is determining exactly how to treat it. The sad answer: foot pain can be caused by a number of complicated and hard-to-pinpoint reasons. To add insult to injury, The University of Maryland Medical Center reports that 75% of Americans will experience foot pain at some point in their lives, with pain ranging from mild to severe.
One of the purposes of this blog is to explore the many causes of foot pain and discomfort, but even more importantly, to share solutions that help relieve and even heal these issues. We also hope to help educate you with preventative measures so you can avoid trouble in advance.
With this post, we’ll start with some simple and sensible tips that can help you either reduce foot or heel pain that already exists, or prevent you from having issues in the future.
These may be the most important exercises you can do for your foot and ankle, and they should be done regularly:
- Passive Stretch for Ankle. Gently grasp foot and bend ankle and foot up and down. Hold 30 seconds.
- Passive Stretch for Toe Flexion / Extension. Gently grasp big toe and straighten it to feel stretch in bottom of foot. Hold 20 seconds.
- Stretching for Calf Muscle w/ Straight Knee. Stand with right foot back, leg straight, forward leg bent. Keeping heel on floor, turned slightly out, lean into wall until stretch is felt in right calf. Hold 30 seconds. Complete on opposite leg also.
Don’t go barefoot
You would think that going barefoot is part of a healthy and relaxed lifestyle, but the painful truth is that going shoeless puts a strain on your foot, and can lead to plantar warts and athlete’s foot. Limited compromise: flip-flops, but they should be used rarely. In fact, avoid flat footwear, which can cause heel pain, tendinitis, and stress fractures (especially if you have flat feet).
Another alternative, for indoors: slippers, but make sure they offer good orthotic and ergonomic support. Our recommendations: Charlotte (for women) or Asheville (for men).
Choose comfortable, roomy, well-cushioned shoes
Non-negotiable: give your feet and toes enough breathing room. Kick cramped shoes to the curb. Orthofeet gives you the option of widths that fit your feet, from narrow to extra-extra wide.
Pay attention to your toenails
Thick toenails may not occur to you as a problem, but 65% of people age 65 and older have this condition, which leads to common foot problems. Why? Once nails thicken, they separate from the toe bed, and this causes pain. The reason is usually traced back to athlete’s foot (the scientific name: tinea pedis), which can lurk in your shoes for years before making itself known.
Another huge source of foot pain: ingrown toenails. This happens when the edge of your toenail grows into the skin around the toe. Preventative solution: always cut your toenails straight across, with a clean, sharp nail scissors. Don’t round the corners to match the shape of your toe. Many people think this is the proper way to cut nails, but now you know better.
Kick off the high heels
In the fashion world, high heels refuse to go out of style, but buck the trend. Deep in your heart, you know that a five-inch spike heel is not going to be doing your feet, your knees, or your spine any favors. What heels do: force all of your weight to the front of your foot – this is what causes the pain. High heels are also the fastest way to develop bunions, corns and other problems.
Are you a slave to fashion? Well, at least try a shorter heel. How about if you compromise: if you wear a two-inch heel, we’ll look the other way – but you have to promise not wear them every day. And if you have flat feet, choose chunky heels instead of skinny ones.
More tips to come – we’re just getting warmed up. Click here if you have any specific questions or related subject requests. And find out more about our Orthofeet products here.