Your feet are made up of many different bones, ligaments, tendons, and muscles, which can get a lot of daily wear and tear. It is estimated that between 75 and 80 percent of the adult population have some type of foot problem. And women are four times as likely as men to have foot problems because of the shoes they wear. Here are two possible causes for your foot pain and the treatments for them.
Reason #1: Plantar Fasciitis
The most common cause of heel pain is from plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis occurs when the band of tissue running underneath the sole of your foot becomes thickened. There are several reasons for this thickening, including obesity, an increase in exercise, and being on your feet for long periods of time. Women are more prone to this condition from wearing high heeled shoes. When your foot is in a high heeled shoe a majority of the time, your plantar fascia is shortened, and over time, your plantar fascia becomes accustomed to this position. Then, if you suddenly switch to wearing flat soled shoes, your plantar fascia is required to stretch and lengthen, causing you to have pain in your heel.
When your doctor diagnoses your plantar fasciitis, surgery is always a last option, occurring in only one out of 20 cases. First, you want to stay off your foot as much as possible to rest your foot and allow the plantar fascia to heal. Completing foot-stretching exercises several times a day can help to treat your thickened plantar fascia. You may also be prescribed to wear an orthotic foot brace or medical shoes for about three weeks to keep your plantar fascia in a lengthened position with your foot flexed to give it time to heal. If your fascia's condition doesn't improve or gets worse, you will most likely need surgery.
Reason #2: Plantar Plate Tear
If you have hyperextended your big toe and now have a pain in the ball of your foot, you could be suffering from a plantar plate tear or sprain. This condition in your foot is most common if you participate in sports or other physical activities where your big toe can become forcibly bent back. Normally, your plantar plate tissue prevents your big toe from bending too far. But, when this happens, your plantar plate just under the joint in your big toe becomes stretched or torn. The severity of your injury will determine if you will need surgery to repair it or if you can try other treatments.
In a mild plantar plate condition, the plate has become stretched and it is tender when you walk and bend your toe. You may also have some swelling around your toes. It is important that you don't ignore the pain because if you don't treat a mild plantar plate injury, it can become worse and require surgery. Your doctor may wrap tape around your toe to hold it in a downward position while the plate heals. You can also wear an orthotic boot to prevent you from putting pressure on the ball of your foot when you walk.
If your toes are swollen and bruised and it is difficult and painful to move them, you may have a more moderate injury of your plantar plate. This can mean you have torn part of the plantar plate tissue. This moderate injury can usually be treated with rest and wearing an orthotic boot to keep your toes immovable. But if your plantar plate is completely torn, you won't be able to move your big toe and surgery will be required to repair the tear.
It is important you take care of the health of your feet. If you experience any pain in your feet, you should have them checked out by your doctor as soon as possible.