Know the Facts About Your Feet
More than 75 percent of Americans will suffer foot problems in their lifetime. The average person takes 3 million steps per year, but may not appreciate that fact until foot pain begins to limit their mobility.
In general, the foot gets wider and longer as you age, the arch settles, fat on the bottom of the heel thins out, range of mo tion lessens, joints stiffen and balance is lost. Disease and injury can cause these problems sooner.
Tips for Maintaining Healthy Feet
- Keep feet clean
- Trim toenails and cuticles
- Wear properly fitted shoes with adequate arch support
- Avoid going barefoot
- Rub feet frequently to boost circulation
- Check feet regularly for abnormalities or wounds
- Eat nutritious foods or take supplements to get plenty of calcium and Vitamin D
- Keep feet strong with regular low-impact exercise 3 to 4 times a week (walk, jog, hike, climb stairs, dance, lift weights)
Foot problems that impact the main structure of the foot are called “midfoot” conditions. A common group of symptoms including pain under the ball of the foot is called metatarsalgia. This foot condition affects the area on the bottom of the foot, just behind the toes. It may worsen as you run, walk, or stand. Shooting pain may occur when flexing the toes. Other symptoms of metatarsalgia include numb or tingling toes, bruised feeling under the sole of the foot, and acute chronic pain.
Foot problems also include heel conditions such as plantar fasciitis or heel spurs, which result in pain on the bottom of the heel. Typically, overuse foot injuries irritate the connective tissue between the heel bone and the base of the toes. Plantar fasciitis can be successfully treated with splints, medications, injections, orthotics, and change in activity levels. After nonsurgical treatments, your orthopedic foot specialist may recommend plantar fascia release surgery.
Fractures can affect any part of the foot in many ways: repetitive stress of running, dropping something on the foot, impact to the top arch of the foot (Lisfranc injury), forefoot injury on the outside of the foot, stumbling on the stairs, or a twisted tendon that pulls away part of the bone. Jarring impacts can fracture the tarsal bone, with a high percentage of these being broken heel bones (calcaneus fractures).
Another trouble spot for feet is the Achilles tendon, which causes pain down the back of the leg to the heel bone. This foot pain stems from an inflammation of the largest tendon in the body – the Achilles tendon – as it is strained or torn. Overuse, calf muscle strain, bone spurs, or degenerative condition can cause Achilles tendinitis. In severe cases, you can hear and feel a sudden pop if the tendon ruptures.
Flat feet is another common foot disorder caused by natural aging, rheumatoid arthritis, or congenital abnormality. A person with flatfoot disorder may not experience pain, but some suffer from low back pain and have a hard time climbing stairs, walking or standing for extended periods. Some develop painful bumps on the top and inside of the foot, making it hard to wear shoes.
Ortho Doctors Diagnose Foot Pain
If you suffer from foot pain due to degenerative disease or foot injury, an orthopedic specialist can perform a comprehensive examination and diagnostic tests to trace the cause. Call 855-41-ORTHO to make an appointment at Baylor Orthopedic and Spine Hospital at Arlington, where your foot pain can be effectively treated in a caring, comfortable environment.