Do You Have Sore Feet? Here’s How Podiatry Can Help
By Charlotte & Jess Bodell (Podiatrists)
Experiencing sore feet on a regular basis may not seem like a large issue, but it can impact your quality of life in a meaningful way. After all, you can’t avoid using your feet, as they support your body wherever you walk. In addition, abnormal foot alignment, gait issues or the lack of appropriate footwear can cause much larger problems over time.
Your ankles, calves, knees, hips, back and neck can all be affected. If your feet aren’t providing the stable foundation your body needs, and the way that you walk puts strain on other parts of your body, this could be a problem.
Fortunately, if you suffer from sore feet podiatry can help – by getting you back on the path to trouble-free walking again. Below are the ways that your podiatrist can assist you, in order to make your sore feet a thing of the past.
A Comprehensive Examination.
The first step towards eliminating sore feet, is to uncover what underlying issues are causing the problem. A qualified podiatrist will perform a careful
and thorough evaluation, to determine what the root cause is in your case. The answer may be as simple as buying the correct footwear, the will provide additional support for you foot type. However, muscle imbalances or improper foot biomechanics may be to blame (1), this may correct the alignment of the foot.
An Appropriate Diagnosis
Your podiatrist may inform you that your sore feet stem from something simple, like overuse, improper footwear or poor form when training or playing sports. However, it is likely that one of these common foot conditions may be present:
If you experience pain immediately upon rising from bed or rest, this is an indication that you’re suffering from plantar fasciitis. Risk factors for plantar fasciitis include carrying extra weight on your frame, being middle-aged or running on a regular basis. Where is the pain located? Plantar fasciitis commonly causes mild pain in your heel or arch, which often grows more intense over time. At first you may only feel this pain after a workout session (especially running), but it may expand until your foot aches during the day (2).
The plantar fascia runs along the bottom of your foot, and this connective tissue keeps your arch from falling too low as you walk. Micro tears or inflammation can occur in this tissue, and that’s why you experience pain and discomfort. Experts say that poor foot biomechanics is the single largest factor determining whether you get plantar fasciitis. The good news is, roughly 90% of patients have significant reduction in their plantar fasciitis pain in only two months of treatment (3).
In many cases, your podiatrist will simply recommend an orthotic insert, which is specially designed to alleviate and eliminate the pain caused by poor foot posture and inadequate support.
Pronation may sound like a negative thing, but it is necessary for you to walk or run in a healthy and low impact manner. Pronation refers to the way your foot rolls inward as you walk or run, which cushions the impact being transferred to your lower leg. This rolling motion center’s around the subtalar joint (ankle bones). The problem comes if you pronate either too much or too little, causing misalignment that is likely the source of your foot pain (4).
Overpronation means that your foot rolls in, too far towards your body, this can sometimes lead the ankle, knee and hip out of alignment. However this may not necessarily bring on pain if you have feet that role in, from Podiatrists’s experience it depends if the big toe joint is being used in standing and walking (at toe off). This can affect your knee and your hip (5), and it can create an unhealthy gait that may lead to larger issues over time. Your podiatrist can spot this common problem, which can typically this may be correct type of footwear, using an orthotic insert if needed, gait re-training and exercises may help also.
The opposite issue, underpronation means that your foot tends to angle outward as your walk or run. This causes increased pressure on the outside of your foot that make’s contact with the ground (6). Again, this is a highly treatable issue, which can usually be addressed by procuring footwear appropriate for underpronation and using an orthotic insert if needed, gait
re-training and exercises may help also.
As you can see from the above discussion, a variety of different conditions can cause sore, painful feet. For this reason, speaking with a qualified podiatrist is your best course of action, as they will be able to expertly diagnose the cause of your pain. Ignoring the issue can often just compound the problem, so seeking out a podiatrist early on is important. Also, they can provide the proper treatments, to ensure that your feet (and the rest of your body) are properly aligned and supported for optimum comfort.