Foot is complex structure with 26 bones and number of joints, muscles and ligaments. Foot pain is common complaint now days. Almost 75 percent of Americans experience foot pain at some point in their lives. It may be caused due to some common negligent practices affecting your foot or may be related with systemic diseases.
Why is foot pain more common?
The reason for foot pain being so common than other parts is the anatomical location of foot. The external and internal forces affect feet more commonly that other parts. Some common causes are:
- Aging and being over-weight
- Ill-fitting /high-heeled shoes
- Poor Posture & poor balance
- Running and other high impact exercises
- Walking regularly on hard surfaces
- Systemic diseases including Arthritis, Diabetes and Gout
Making a diagnosis for foot pain
While you doctor makes a diagnosis about your foot pain, a complete general and medical history is important in order to distinguish between various causes. These points guide about diagnosis of foot pain:
- Onset of pain (sudden or gradual)
- Exact location of pain in the foot
- Whether pain radiates in foot or not
- Which factors exaggerate pain and which factors relieve pain
- At which specific time of the day pain occurs
General examination of foot is made by doctor to rule out any cause of pain. Many foot problems are obvious from a simple foot examination. This includes an inspection of foot for any swelling on foot, abnormal skin texture, color change and any other in born visible deformity in foot. An important thing in this regard is to check range of motion at ankle joint. Watching you stand and walk will also be helpful in making a diagnosis.
X-ray although is not very important in this scenario but it can be taken if your doctor suspects a bone fracture due to stress or trauma or if there is any abnormal thing related to ankle joint. If diagnosis is not clear yet you may have some other tests like MRI, blood tests, scanning of bones, vascular testing and neurological testing as recommended by doctor.
Common foot problems leading to foot pain
There are many common foot problems associated to foot problems. Most are very clear, usually diagnoses by a simple visual examination.
The most common cause leading to foot pain is plantar fasciitis. It is in both athletic as well as non-athletic persons. Some manifestations of such a case are: It may occur in one foot or may be in both feet with more severity in one. Being localized in inner side of foot, typically it is worse in the morning with first few steps and then may come down. It improves actually with walking but keep in mind prolonged walking always aggravates it.
Walking with weight on forefoot and walking on hard surfaces for a long time can also worsen the scenario. A vigorous and sudden athletic activity may result in severe and sudden pain in foot and considered as typical case of plantar fasciitis. For plantar fasciitis exercises and more, check out all of our articles at Plant and Run.
It is a common fungal infection of the foot, most commonly caused by fungi of the trichophyton genus. This is also known as ringworm or tinea pedis. Fungi attacks the moist parts of the foot and leads to itching, flicking and pain. If the infection remains untreated, bacteria can attack the wound, worsening the condition. It can also spread to the other body parts such as groin. You can also prevent this by changing your running shoes.
Warts are small and rough over-growths found commonly in the foot. These resemble a solid blister. It is caused by a viral infection and warts have a tendency of recurrence. The treatment involves removing the wart by procedures like electrodessication and cryosurgery.
Callus or callosity is the thickened and hardened skin due to repeated pressure, friction or other irritations. The calluses are not serious problems but they are prone to become infected and can convert into painful blisters. Frequent walking is the most common reason to develop callus on the foot.
Prevention of foot pain
If you are generally healthy, proper shoes and over-the-counter foot products are usually all you need for most foot problems. Reduce your body weight. Avoiding impact activities is especially important in athletes, who can cross-train with non-impact sports such as cycling or swimming.