Feet pain is a common ailment that can adversely affect your normal lifestyle. It causes a lot of discomfort and can distract you from your work and daily activities. It can have a bad effect on the way you walk, and even incapacitate you once it gets worse.
Never take your feet for granted. Whether you’re an athlete, a salesperson, or a regular office worker, your feet gets a lot of punishment each day. It could be from supporting your weight if you’re obese, or from the repeated trauma of running or jumping if you’re into strenuous sports.
While they are designed to be tough and resilient, your feet are just as vulnerable to pain and injury as other parts of your body. For this reason, you need to give them the care and maintenance they deserve.
Here are some smart tips to keep feet pain at bay:
Know your foot type
Do you know your foot type? You could be neutral-arched (normal), high-arched, or flat-footed. You should do a wet footprint test to determine the type of foot you have.
Wet the underside of your feet and stand on a dry surface. Examine the imprint left by your feet. If your footprint shows only half of its arch, then that foot has a neutral or normal arch. If there is only a narrow line that connects your heel to the ball of your foot, then you have high arches (pes cavus). On the other hand, a nearly entire imprint of your foot indicates you have fallen arches (flat-footed). Base the shoes you’ll wear on these findings.
You need shoes with the right arch support to prevent pain in your arches, heels, and legs. The proper footwear can also help prevent painful hammertoes and bunions from developing.
If you are either high-arched or flat-footed, chances are high that you will get plantar fasciitis. This primary cause of heel pain is marked by inflammation of the connective tissue (plantar fascia) under your foot. However, you can use an effective topical application called HeelAid that quickly relieves the pain and discomfort of plantar fasciitis.
Wear shoes for your kind of sport
If you are actively engaged in a particular sport most days of the week, you should use shoes designed specifically for that physical activity. If your sport requires a lot of running and jumping, using the appropriate shoes can help absorb shock and trauma. This can prevent tendonitis, stress fractures, heel pain, and other disorders many sports-active people experience. What’s more, stop using and replace your old and worn-out sports shoes.
Right shoes for high arches
High-arched feet should wear shoes with buckles, straps, or laces. Footwear with a comfortable sole and added layers of cushioning work best for this condition. Pick shoes with adequate arch support and with heels raised a bit to avoid feet pain.
Solution for flat feet
Seeing a podiatrist can help you make the right choice of custom shoe inserts. Custom-made orthotics may be expensive but they can help relieve the condition.
Choose comfort over looks
While it is understandable that we all want great-looking shoes, you should also consider that the right shoe fit is a vital factor in foot injury prevention. If you find a pair of shoes that looks impressive but uncomfortable to walk in, leave it on the rack. Don’t believe that breaking it in will eventually fix the issue. Instead, look for a more agreeable feet-friendly pair. Read our article on the 5 Best Shoes for Heel Pain.
Don’t walk barefooted
Don’t walk with your bare feet. Walking barefoot puts unneeded stress on your feet. Walking on fungus-contaminated surfaces around the pool area, in showers, and locker room floors can also cause athlete’s foot.
Walking barefoot exposes your feet to various potential injuries. You can develop plantar warts, cuts and bruises on the surface of your feet.
Avoid wearing high-heeled shoes
For women, wearing high-heeled shoes is a sure way to develop bunions, corns, and other painful foot disorders. If you must use high-heeled shoes, choose those with 2-inch heels and not an inch more. Furthermore, do not wear them everyday. They are not a smart choice of footwear if your work requires you to be on your feet for long hours. For fallen arches, shoes with short and thick heels should be chosen over those with thin heels.
Limit your use of flip-flops
You can use flip-flops instead of going barefoot in beaches, pool areas, and fungus-infected locker room showers. However, they can be a potential cause of Achilles tendonitis, stress fractures, and heel pain if you’ve got fallen arches or flat feet.
Avoid wearing flip-flops especially if you’re working around your yard. It’s also not a good idea to use them for sports or for taking long walks. These types of footwear don’t provide sufficient arch support, shock absorption, and other features for foot protection.
Flip-flop thongs that go between your toes can likely cause irritation that can get inflamed and infected. Replace these thongs once they get worn out.
Keep your toenails trimmed
Toenails are best trimmed by cutting them straight across. Cutting them and rounding the corners can result in an ingrown toenail. You won’t notice it at the start, but ingrown toenails can get very painful especially when infection has set in. At the first sign of pain or unusual toe discomfort, see your doctor.
Lose the excess baggage
The extra poundage that your feet carries everyday can weaken the surrounding muscles as well as cause heel and arch pain. Carrying those extra weight can alter your foot’s structure. It can trigger your body to create calcium deposits at the stress site to hasten healing if injury is present. These deposits will develop into bone spurs (calcaneal spurs) over several months or years before they can be detected. While they do not actually cause feet pain, they can cause a lot of discomfort, as well as swelling of the ankles and feet.
If you have aching feet, particularly at the heel area, there is a high chance that you have plantar fasciitis. In this condition, the connective tissue (plantar fascia) at the bottom of your foot becomes inflamed due to overuse injuries. This causes pain to your heel, usually in the morning as you get out of bed.
Plantar fasciitis is a common foot disorder experienced mostly by runners, athletes, and flat-footed individuals. Other factors include having high arches, being overweight, and jobs that require standing for long hours.
The pain and discomfort of plantar fasciitis can take anywhere from six to twelve months to treat. Here are some things you should and should not do at home to alleviate the pain. Following these guidelines can help your foot heal more quickly.
DIY home treatment for aching feet caused by plantar fasciitis
The R.I.C.E. method
Give the ligament a rest by not putting any weight or pressure on it for at least two days. By resting your aching feet, the pain can slowly disappear and you’ll be able to walk normally again.
Ice and ice packs can help bring down the inflammation faster. Make an ice pack by wrapping a towel around a package of frozen peas or corn. You can also wrap a towel around ice cubes in a plastic bag. Apply the ice pack gently against the inflamed area for about 20 minutes 3 to 4 times daily.
One alternative is to soak your heel in a shallow pan with ice and water for about 10 to 15 minutes 3 to 4 times daily. Do not soak your toes in the cold water.
Optionally, you can also freeze a can of corn or other products. You can roll your foot gently over the frozen can for 5 to 10 minutes.
Wrap your aching feet with cloth or athletic bandage to keep the ligament from swelling further. Do not to bind the affected area too tightly as this can restrict blood flow in your foot. Athletic tape can also limit your foot movement and prevent the condition from getting worse.
While resting, raise your affected foot in a position above heart level. This elevated position will allow blood to flow back to the heart and keep the swelling down.
Foot stretches for heel pain
Analgesic and anti-inflammatory drugs
Analgesic and anti-inflammatory drugs can relieve some of the pain and help reduce the inflammation.
The heel and its connective tissues take on a lot of weight and stress every time you run or even walk. Heel cups are pads contoured for the heels. They provide extra cushion for comfort and raise the heel to reduce stress. They’re not as good as shoe inserts but their affordability makes them worth checking out.
These devices are more commonly known as shoe inserts, arch supports, or insoles. They support the arch and provide an extra layer of comfort. They are custom-made or sold over-the-counter. Magnetic insoles are advertised to relieve plantar fasciitis. Various research have shown that these devices don’t work.
Click here to read why cheaper over-the-counter shoe inserts are just as good as the more expensive custom-made orthotics.
Usually, the feet is pointed downwards as you sleep. This compresses and shorten the plantar fascia and Achilles tendon. A night splint or heel splint is a type of foot brace that supports the ankle and lower leg as well. It is worn at night before going to bed to stretch the plantar fascia ligament during your sleep.
HeelAid™ brush-on application
HeelAid™ is a safe and proven topical agent that provides relief for aching feet caused by plantar fasciitis. It is plant-based, all-natural, and contains no synthetic chemicals.
How to discourage plantar fasciitis from recurring
Trying the guidelines above will relieve your aching feet. To prevent the pain and discomfort from coming back, you need to make a few changes in your life, fashion, and activities.
- Keep doing heel and foot stretches. These exercises will keep your foot muscles, tendons, and ligaments strong and conditioned. Be sure to adequately warm up your feet before engaging in any sport or vigorous physical activity. Read 4 Easy Foot Conditioners To Prevent Heel Pain In the Morning
- If you choose to engage in sports activities, be sure they are low-impact until your foot condition has healed completely. Cycling or swimming won’t make plantar fasciitis worse. Just be sure to stretch properly before and after the activity.
- Stop using old or worn out shoes. Replace them with shoes that have good arch support.
- For women, avoid using high-heeled shoes. If you must use them for social occasions, do not wear them for an extended period.
- Do not walk or run without the proper footwear, especially on hard surfaces. This also applies to hard bedroom floors when you get out of bed in the morning, when heel pain is usually experienced.
- Do not engage in high-impact activities where a lot of running and jumping are involved. These can put your heels and Achilles tendon in a lot of stress that can lead to aching feet later on.
- Consult your doctor if using shoe inserts and orthotic devices will help improve your foot disorder.
- Don’t tuck your bedsheets too tightly to prevent your feet from assuming a pointed position during the night.
- Watch your weight. If you are obese or carrying extra poundage, you are putting more load on your calf and heel. The extra pressure and stress can cause injury that can lead to plantar fasciitis.
One of the best things you can do for your heel pain—or any pain on the bottom of your foot—is to give your feet better support. This is especially true if you have plantar fasciitis, which is inflammation in a thick band of tissue that runs between your heel and your toes. One of the most effective and manageable treatments for plantar fasciitis is better support in your shoes.
Now, finding the best shoes can be a nightmare. Comfortable shoes seem to be few and far between, with department stores favoring more trendy styles over those that actually help your feet feel better.
Luckily, the internet is full of fellow heel pain sufferers who want to help you out. Here are a few of the top-rated shoes for heel pain that we’ve found.
Gravity Defyer is one of many footwear brands that specifically designs shoes for plantar fasciitis and pain relief. Among their range of men’s and women’s dress shoes, is their line of athletic shoes. They come in a range of bright and stylish colors for both men and women, and while that’s a plus, it’s the reviews that really sell it. “Thank you for so much comfort and the ability to enjoy my life,” writes one happy wearer.
This specific pair from New Balance has more than 300 reviews on Amazon and averages at 4.5 stars. New Balance shoes have a pretty stellar reputation for comfort and support, but the 990v4 for both men and women in particular is making heel-pain sufferers happy. “I am on my 4th pair of these shoes because I love them so much,” writes one reviewer. These sneakers also come in a wide variety of colors for all sizes, so if you also want to stock up on 4 pairs, you can match them for each season of the year.
If running isn’t really your thing, then Skechers has a line of walking shoes that will still support your arches and heels in order to help reduce and ease your bottom of foot pain. They’re made of a breathable fabric that moves with you as you walk and, according to one reviewer, “They are the most comfortable shoe I have ever worn.”
Don’t feel like you have to live in sneakers all the time just because you suffer from heel pain. There are sandals with arch support and lightweight material made especially for people who need a little something extra in their flip flop. One of the internet’s favorites is this unisex sandal from Telic. The absorbent material helps keep shocks off your nerves while cushioning your feet. “ I had plantar fasciitis in one foot that was so painful I could barely walk,” writes one reviewer. “After wearing these about 3 weeks, it is nearly gone!”
Finally, who doesn’t want to end their day in a pair of supportive house shoes? These ones from Orthofeet come especially recommended. With a whopping 800+ reviews, these slippers maintain 4.5 stars with a lot of happy customers. They’re cozy, comfy, cute, and they’ll help with your heel pain. That’s a win all around for anyone hoping to relieve a little of their bottom of feet discomfort.
Subjecting your feet to overuse can lead to painful foot disorders that include tendonitis, ruptured tendons, and plantar fasciitis. It is all well and good to engage in sports to boost your health and fitness. However, pushing yourself to the limit can lead to painful foot conditions that can incapacitate you.
Overuse injuries are tissue damage caused by repeated stress and trauma. The most common injuries are sports-related, like stress fractures and tendinopathies that usually affect the foot and ankle.
Many people tend to ignore the various stress and strain they place on their feet. They fail to realize that they can damage the muscles and tissues which can eventually lead to chronic pain. Daily wear and tear do not actually affect the feet as long as they are given enough rest and recovery.
Overuse can cause injuries that restrict your foot’s freedom to move freely. These foot disorders can stop you from participating in sports you engage in. You may think that athletes are somehow used to this problem since they’ve learned to push themselves to the limit. The truth is they can overstrain their feet and ankle and get injured just like anyone else.
R & R (rest and repair) needed to prevent foot disorders
Overuse injuries of the feet develop gradually as a result of constant wear and tear, as well as repeated strain. The injury is usually minor at the start. The damage worsens, however, if the feet doesn’t get enough time for rest and recovery. Many athletes have learned to ignore the discomfort and this aggravates the injury over time. This may get worse and become more painful going forward.
Overuse injuries may depend on the sport activities one participates in. Here are some examples:
- Soccer and tennis players may experience painful swelling of the tendon (tendonitis) as a result of the jumping and side-to-side movement involved in these sports.
- Football, soccer, and basketball can cause torn or ruptured tendon due to the fast and sudden movements of the player.
- Minute breaks in the bone or stress fractures can occur after a person engages in strenuous walking or running.
- Any other physical activities like dancing can bring about these injuries.
Sports injuries often occur in athletes who tend to push their body to the limit, whether they are working out or playing the game. Even sales people who spend most of their work hours on their feet are also prone to these foot disorders. Overuse injuries can also affect hyperactive teens and inactive adults who decide to take up sports again. They may possibly develop pain after subjecting their feet to movements they are not used to.
Common foot and ankle injuries caused by overuse
Many feet and ankles develop pain because of overuse injuries. Below are the most common issues:
Foot bones may develop minute cracks because of constant and hard impacts. These cracks are referred to as stress fractures. They can develop into bigger breaks if they are left untreated.
Feet subjected to overuse usually develop plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendonitis. These conditions are caused by too much strain on the plantar fascia and Achilles tendon. Long and repeated strain can cause stress, minute rips, and inflammation of the tissue.
Ball of the foot pain
A fatigued or weakened ankle become unsteady and more prone to accidents and injuries. This is more common in ankles that have had previous injuries
In this condition, soft tissues in the shins develop weakness and inflammation as a result of overuse. Aggravating factors may include rapid, abrupt and vigorous movements, as well as faulty foot structure.
Early detection and treatment
Treatment of overuse injuries depends largely on the shape you’re in, as well as your foot. However, the best treatments are the most conventional ones. These consist mainly of resting the feet and reducing the pain and inflammation.
Rest is of extreme importance when you develop overuse injury. Foot specialists recommend a respite from any sport activity to allow the affected foot to rest and recover. Common treatments include applying ice packs, taking pain-relievers and anti-inflammatory medications, and elevating the injured foot.
You should not ignore foot pain. It indicates that something is wrong. Be aware of pain signs and seek treatment for your feet and ankles.
Learn to be in tune with your body. Most foot disorders can be easily treated when you detect them early. If you experience some discomfort that’s outside your normal zone, it may be your body indicating that it needs you to slow down. Giving your lower limbs time to rest will allow them to adapt to your workout routine and prevent unneeded stress.
Never take foot pain for granted
You may try the common treatment methods to relieve foot pain. However, if the pain remains stubborn for 3 to 7 days, then you should probably consult a medical professional. Overuse injury is typically uncomplicated to diagnose since it occurred after a rapid and sustained burst of increased physical exertion.
Severely damaged tendons may require surgical intervention. The good news is most injuries caused by overuse can be treated by resting, and they can even be preventable by not engaging in too much sports activity in so short a time.
You should allow your body to adapt to your level of activity. If you push it “to the limit,” especially if you have not worked out for a while and your tendons, muscles, and bones are weak, then you could be headed for a lot of pain. Instead of pushing your body into a sudden burst of action, gradually work up your level of activity so your body can adapt and develop the required strength.
Constant stress and overuse injury can weaken your feet and cause various foot disorders. Never take your foot pain for granted, thinking that it will eventually go away. Give your feet their needed attention to prevent injuries that can, in the worst case, disable you.
If you’ve been experiencing pain in the bottom of your foot over a long period of time, and you don’t know what’s causing it, it may be time for a visit to your doctor. Visiting your family physician doesn’t have to be an overwhelming or stressful process, even if the source of your foot pain is unknown. It can help to make a list of questions beforehand so you’re prepared to talk with your doctor about your concerns.
For bottom of the foot pain, here are a few questions to ask your doctor at your next visit:
Why does the bottom of my foot hurt?
There are a lot of different things that can cause pain in the bottom of your foot—and not all of them are cause for serious concern. The tendons and nerves in the bottom of the foot can be very sensitive, so sometimes as much as stepping a little crooked or strange during your regular walk can cause some discomfort on the bottom of your foot.
Check for any splinters, thorns, or bruising on the bottom of your foot as well. You may have tripped, or stepped on something while walking around throughout the day and not noticed initially. Unfortunately, not every pain is as jolting as stepping on toys that have been left out.
Is my pain related to diabetes?
If you have a history of diabetes in your family, or have been discussing potential diabetic treatments with your doctor, it may be a good idea to check that your foot pain is not related. Diabetes can cause restricted blood flow to your feet, which over a long period of time, can also lead to reduced feeling and numbness in the feet.
On the other hand, some diabetics develop diabetic peripheral neuropathy which is a condition in which your feet become overly sensitive to any kind of touch, regardless of how light. If you’re noticing consistent pain all over your feet, that may or may not begin at the bottoms, then you should ask your doctor if your foot pain is related to your diabetes.
Should I be worried about plantar fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is a condition caused by inflammation of tissue in the bottom of the foot, especially the heel. The good news is that plantar fasciitis is easily treatable with rest, stretching, and ice.
Sometimes, that inflammation and irritation can cause bone spurs as a secondary event, but the bones spur itself does not cause the plantar fasciitis. If you’re experiencing long-term heel pain or long-term pain on the bottom of your foot, you should absolutely ask your doctor about plantar fasciitis.
Plantar fasciitis is treatable. Standard therapies will take time but with proper care and diligence it usually improves.
Are there stretches I can do to help?
Depending on the cause of your pain, there are different stretches you can do to relax and soothe the muscles in your foot. It’s always best to consult your doctor before trying any new exercise or stretching regimen. After talking with your physician, consider trying a few of these.
Will I need surgery for my bottom of foot pain?
The good news is that in most cases, bottom of foot pain can be treated without surgery—even if you have plantar fasciitis. Treatments for bottom of your foot pain can range from simply getting better shoes, using orthotic inserts, doing a series of stretches each day, or improving your diet. There are even some topical treatments that are safe and entirely natural!
If you’re concerned about the duration and intensity of your heel pain, or if you’ve had a bone spur for more than 12 months, ask your doctor about more intensive treatments that you can pursue together.
The flat foot condition, also known as fallen arches, is also referred to as Pes Planus. It is commonly present in infants and goes away when they are 2 or 3 years old. At this age, the child’s foot tendons and ligaments develop and stretch. The condition can continue through adulthood and hardly be a cause for arch pain and other concerns. 1 out of 4 American adults have flat feet
A lot of people look at this condition as a physical disorder because their foot don’t appear normal since the arch is absent. They also feel discomfort when walking, running, or standing for long periods.
The absence of an arch causes the foot to be flat when the individual is standing. The sole of the feet is fully or partly in contact with the floor surface. Having flat feet is usually caused by some hidden conditions but it can also be passed from parents to offspring.
Causes of flat foot condition
Flat feet are no real cause for concern. Many flat-footed people don’t find it hard to live with the problems that come with it. Thus, they don’t seek treatment.However, flat feet do sometimes cause issues that require certain treatment, like:
- Undetected problem with muscles, bones, and ligaments in the feet
- Overpronation or excessive inward rolling of the feet. This may wear out the shoes in a short time and cause feet injury.
Many non-flat-footed people can also get the condition. Infrequently, the condition is caused by several factors including:
- Stretching and inflammation of the foot ligament (plantar fascia) caused by improper footwear, advancing age, arthritis, overweight, and constant strain.
- Weak connective tissues in the entire body.
- Improper formation of the feet bones during the fetal stages.
- Muscular dystrophy, spina bifida, cerebral palsy, and other health conditions that cause muscular and nervous disorder.
Other factors that cause flat foot condition
Certain factors like advancing age or injury can damage the connective tissues and lead to flat foot condition. This means that even persons with normally-formed arches can acquire it. Stress and strain for a long period of time can cause the connective tissues along the ankle which support the arch to deteriorate and lose strength. This can occur in one or both foot. Children can sometimes develop painful flat feet as a result of bones in the foot joining together, known as tarsal coalition.
Flat feet can also be caused by other factors such as:
- Weakened arches
- History of flat foot in the family
- Medical conditions like diabetes and arthritis
- Tibialis posterior or torn tendon
If you have any of these problems, you should consider treatment.
Common symptoms of flat feet
Flat foot conditions are not really extreme but the pain and discomfort can affect movement. The following symptoms are brought about by this condition:
- Foot pain particularly in the heel and arch areas
- Moving the foot can be a struggle
- Inflammation at the bottom of the heel
- Inward rolling of the feet beyond normal limits (overpronation)
- Backache and leg pain
- Foot weakness
Treatment for flat feet
Flat-footed children generally do not need treatment if walking is not difficult and no pain is present. The arches can develop as the child grows older.
In older persons, some occurrences of flat feet do not show any symptoms. Flat feet treatment is not required in these conditions. Still, there are some instances when abnormal leg alignment can lead to ankle and knee problems. Backache and leg pain can also be experienced by some people.
If foot or leg pain is present because of flat feet, treatment can help manage the pain and avoid further problems. A podiatrist or foot doctor can recommend a treatment program based on their examination of the condition.
Various flat foot conditions
To determine their condition, the podiatrist will carefully examine the front and back of your feet. As part of the exam, the doctor will have you stand on tiptoe. Your shoes will also be checked for any unusual wear patterns.
You may experience any or sometimes all of the conditions outlined below. A foot specialist can recommend the right treatment for them after examination.
- Your foot’s condition continues to worsen
- Shoes wears out in a short time
- Foot fatigue along with numbness and restricted movement
- Feet is still painful even when wearing the proper shoes
Imaging tests such as CT scan, MRI, X-rays, and ultrasound may also be required to further determine the causes of your flat feet.
The risks of not treating flat feet issues
While it seldom causes serious problems, flat foot condition can affect a person when standing, walking, or running. There is even higher risk of pain in the back, hips, knees, and ankle in flat-footed persons. This condition can cause or even worsen existing flat feet symptoms. Sufferers may be at risk of:
- Achilles tendonitis
- Plantar fasciitis
- Posterior tibial tendonitis
- Foot arthritis
- Ankle arthritis
- Shin splints
Common ways of treating flat feet pain
The different ways of treating flat feet pain depend on the causes and acuteness of the condition. Any or several of the treatment methods below may be prescribed by your doctor to reduce pain and discomfort.
- RICE method – rest, icing, compression, and elevation – to diminish pain and inflammation. Read: Arch Pain – Its Causes, Symptoms and Home Treatment
- Wear shoes with arch support
- Do foot conditioning stretches
- Analgesic and anti-inflammatory medications. For foot pain caused by plantar fasciitis, try this quick all-natural brush-on relief.
- Physical therapy
- Weight reduction for obese patients. Weight loss can reduce the unneeded stress placed on the feet.
- Pain caused by flat feet can be relieved by wearing good-fitting shoes with adequate arch support. Using custom orthotics, shoe modifications, and shoe inserts can help absorb stress and prevent overpronation. Using ankle braces can reduce the swelling caused by posterior tibial tendonitis.
These treatment methods will not alter the physical structure and appearance of the affected foot. However, it may alleviate some of the discomforts brought about by flat foot.
If these common methods don’t work for you, you may have to consult an orthopedic surgeon to see if any surgical procedure may be required.