Athletic runners, gym fanatics, and employees who are on their feet for an entire shift aren’t the only ones experiencing foot pain. Even a couch potato can unknowingly cause excruciating aches and fiery stinging in their heels, arches, toes, and ankles. Everything from slight irritation to throbbing pain can be brought on by the kinds of shoes you wear, your daily activity, and how you walk.
Feet are complex parts of our body — so many different bones and muscles in play! — and we rely on them a lot during the day. During the COVID pandemic, people have learned first-hand that shoes really do support the soles and balls of our feet as we move about our day. Not wearing shoes for an extended period of time during quarantine, especially if you are working out at home or deep cleaning and remodelling certain rooms, won’t support your arch or other tender parts of your foot.
When should you consult a Resonance Podiatrist?
You are wearing the wrong-sized shoe.
Upwards of 70% of adults are wearing shoes that did not accommodate either width or length dimensions of their feet. The most common issue is that shoes are too narrow for one’s feet. Even if you’ve been purchasing shoes in the same size for most of your life, there’s a chance that a different size (or width specification) could alleviate most of the pain you’re experiencing.
How do you know if your shoes are too tight, loose, narrow, or wide? Try mapping out your foot type first. Step into baby powder and walk across a piece of dark construction paper. The outline of the bottom of the foot will have a thin profile on someone with a higher arch — whereas a wider footprint suggests a flat foot type. If you compare your shoe to the footprint you’ve just made and they don’t remotely resemble each other, that’s a red flag, but it’s also an opportunity to discover the structure of your foot to better understand the kinds of shoes you should buy.
You’re wearing the wrong kind of shoe.
You know not to wear beach flip flops for a long walk through a nearby park, but you might not realize that your favourite pair of running shoes isn’t suited for a trek up a nearby hiking trail. The shoes you choose must be aligned with the specific activity or requirement. Walking shoes might be similar to running shoes in some ways, but each provide different kinds of support. And of course, tight or pointy women’s shoes are for situations that don’t require significant walking or standing throughout the workday — and patients with bunions will require shoes with extra room in the toe box. In spite of how fabulous they may look, your office pumps or date night sling backs might be at fault here.
Try to wear shoes that align with the physical activity you’re taking on. And when you’re buying, purchasing new shoes at the end of the day when your feet are most swollen to “ensure a comfortable fit at all times.”
Shoes should be:
- Be able to bend where your toes bend (except for steel toes in work boots).
- Not have narrow toe boxes, which lead to bunions, hammertoes, or ingrown nails.
- Resist a bend or a full fold at midpoint, since shoes with a functional structural support shouldn’t be able to “fold in half with your hands.”
You may be battling corns or calluses.
There’s a good chance the pain you’re experiencing is caused by what’s called a corn or, more frequently, calluses around your foot. These blister-like formations develop in reaction to a myriad of issues, but mostly due to ill-fitting shoes or the pressure points on your feet. They’re a result of repetitive friction. Calluses often have cracked, exposed skin that can be irritated by any kind of friction or pressure, whereas smaller corns are inflamed spots on your skin that are very painful when pressed.
Calluses and corns may be addressed by asking a shoe specialist to properly size your foot, or by tossing out a pair of boots, sneakers, or flats that cause friction in a certain area. But some calluses and corns may also be caused by the structure of your foot, and this is a larger problem that should be addressed in a check up.
Your foot is affected by a plantar’s wart.
Unlike corns or calluses, you may not even be able to see a plantar’s wart at first; later, a callus may build up around this wart, after you’ve already suffered much pain. Plantar warts are warts on the foot caused by the HPV virus they can be often painful due to their common occurrence on or around weight bearing surfaces. A callus around the wart will increase pressure and therefore increase the pain.
Usually, a plantar’s wart occurs after germs have entered your foot’s skin through tiny abrasions, usually while walking barefoot outside. Normally, plantar’s warts can go away on their own, but if you’ve noticed a calloused wart that’s causing you severe pain, a foot specialist may give you targeted medication or perform a minor operation depending on how deep the wart is embedded in your skin.
You’ve developed a bunion.
A bunion is a large, inflamed bump at the joint of the big toe — or conversely, on the other side of the foot on your pinky toe, which is called a bunionette. It will only get worse if you continue to wear the same shoes that caused it to develop. Bunions are often caused by shoes that are too tight (often unbeknownst to the wearer) but they become a severe problem when they’re left to grow over time, and at some point, they may well need to be surgically removed.
You’re stuck with an ingrown toenail.
Out of everything on this list, this is probably the most visually apparent symptom of foot pain. Usually, ingrown toenails are inflamed, very sensitive, and may also develop calluses or even pus-filled deposits around the toe in question. For those who try and straighten their nails out at home, or more perilously, cutting nails or rounding them out — an ingrown nail can actually go incognito. A fraction of the nail may continue to grow in your nail bed, and any pressure may cause significant pain, even if there’s nothing left to cut away.
You have an underlying condition.
Each pair of feet are different, and sometimes, pain is brought on by a holistic health issue that has nothing to do with physical activity or shoe choice. Diabetes, for one, can lead to circulation issues, nerve pain, and muscle and joint deterioration, often influences by your blood sugar. Another often overlooked possibility is hormones produced during pregnancy. Hormones designed to help your ligaments relax and prepare for childbirth are naturally released when you’re expecting.
Call us today to resolve all your foot problems
0800 473 776
09 212 9612