Bone & joint health Featured

Helping you walk away from foot pain

Foot pain.
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Written by Nancy Carreiro

May is Foot Health Month. The health of our feet is important as it can affect our overall health. At least once in your lifetime, most people will experience some form of foot pain. Far too many of us ignore our feet until they start to hurt. Our feet are a complex structure made up of 26 bones, 33 joints, 107 ligaments and 19 muscles.  Our feet carry us throughout our lives, as we walk, stand or run. So it’s no surprise that if your feet hurt, it can keep you from enjoying your life and staying active!

Here are eight common foot conditions with some treatment recommendations to help keep your feet healthy:

  1. Heel Pain (Plantar Fasciitis): Also referred to as a ‘heel spur.’ Symptoms can include pain on the bottom or inside part of the heel, which is usually most painful with the first few steps in the morning or after a period of rest. Treatment can include custom foot orthotics, supportive footwear and stretching.
  2. Bunion (Hallux Valgus): This is a misalignment of the big toe, often with a ‘bump’ that may be red or inflamed and can be quite painful. This can be hereditary, or can occur because of injury, arthritis or wearing shoes that are too tight. Treatment can include custom foot orthotics, wider footwear and toe separators.
  3. Forefoot/Ball of Foot Pain (Metatarsalgia): Pain across the ball (metatarsal bones) of the foot and can occur because of injury, arthritis, or pressure in this area from footwear (high heels) or activity. Treatment can include custom foot orthotics and proper footwear.
  4. Flat Feet (Pes Planus): Those with flat arches tend to have overly flexible feet that roll too far to the inside. Arch pain can often happen because of this and can contribute to pain in the knees, hips and back. Treatment can include custom foot orthotics, motion control footwear and physiotherapy.
  5. High Arches (Pes Cavus): Those with high arches tend to have inflexible feet with excessive pressure along the outside edges of the feet. Pain can often happen because of too much weight along the outer part of the foot, as well as along the heel and/or ball of the foot. Treatment can include custom foot orthotics and cushioned footwear.
  6. Ankle Pain: Ankle pain can happen because of poor foot mechanics (such as flat arches or high arches), disease (such as arthritis) or injury. Treatment can include custom foot orthotics, supportive footwear and physiotherapy.
  7. Corns & Calluses: Corns are thickened areas of skin that form because of excessive pressure and friction. Corns are usually hard and round in appearance. Calluses are thickened areas of skin that form as a result of pressure, or shearing (friction). Corns and calluses form to help protect the skin and the structures beneath it from injury or damage. Treatment can include podiatry/chiropody care to remove corn and/or callus, custom foot orthotics and proper footwear.
  8. Ingrown Toenails: Ingrown toenails occurs when the corner of the nail imbeds into the skin causing pain and sometime infection. It usually happens because of improper nail trimming, injury, and pressure from footwear. Treatment can include proper nail care and treatment from a Podiatrist/Chiropodist, and making sure your shoes are not too tight.

What can you do to help manage your foot pain? If you feel you need advice or help to manage your foot pain, you should speak to your family doctor about the treatment options available.

Did you know?

Sunnybrook Centre for Independent Living (SCIL) Pedorthic Services specializes in non-surgical treatment for foot and lower extremity pain. If you would like further information about our services, please call us at 416.480.4261, email us at scil@sunnybrook.ca or visit our website.

About the author

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Nancy Carreiro