Ben Wehrli, DPM and his team at CVFA Institute treat a range of foot and ankle injuries. Foot pain can be caused by a variety of issues such as sports injuries or disease but often the cause is related to everyday stresses we inflict on our feet. Here is a list of common factors that may cause foot pain.
1. Ben Wehrli, DPM says “If the shoe fits-wear it”. We love to buy shoes but most shoes are bought for their style and are often too narrow, too tight, or too high and that can cause a condition known as ” Hammer Toe”. This is when toes are bent and not laying flat. Because the toe is not laying flat it rubs against your shoes causing irritation and pain. Find shoes that do not put pressure on the raised part of your toes.
2. When are high heels too high? High heels put pressure on the ball of the foot, and a 3 inch heel can exert up to seven times more pressure than normal. Except for special events, wear lower heels. Heels over 2.5 to 3 inches can cause a number of issues including stress fractures, bursitis ( a swelling of the fluid sack at the back of the heel), sprained ankles and neuroma, an inflammation of the nerves between the bones in your feet. The discomfort this causes can be like walking over a rock and Dr. Wehrli recommends heels lower than 3 inches. Even then, a stacked heel is preferable to a stiletto type.
3. Pointy Toes-so glamorous and sooooo painful! Pointy toes that make your legs look so long and glamorous can be irritating a bunion. Bunions are hereditary protrusions of the joints that worsen over time. While surgery is about the only way to cure this problem, tight, pointy shoes make it worse.
If you have a bunion, correct it sooner rather than later, as the surgery is less invasive early on. With so many styles to choose from, you can be stylish and comfortable at the same time and proper shoes can prevent bunions from returning. Dr. Ben Wehrli, DPM says that bunions are one of the most common conditions he treats.
4. How can your feet hurt after a pedicure? An improperly done pedicure can lead to foot pain. Most manicurists are highly trained professionals, but mistakes happen. Be extra careful if you do your own nails. If you cut into the corner of a nail and leave a little piece, it can dig into the skin causing an ” Ingrown Toenail”. This can become infected and painful. Try a home remedy like soaking with warm water and white vinegar or Epsom salt. This will soften the skin and help draw out any drainage. A hint is to try gently rounding your nails or cutting them straight to avoid problems. Shoes that are too small or a stubbed toe can also cause an ingrown toenail.
5. Diabetes can cause foot pain. Diabetes is an autoimmune disease with side effects that can include circulation disorders, nerve pain, muscle and joint problems, infections and yes, foot pain. If you have diabetes, regular check-ups with Dr. Wehrli – at least annually – are the best way to ensure that your feet remain healthy.
6. Stretch those feet! Exercising and stretching exercises are the essential to healthy feet, especially if you regularly do other exercise routines. The skin on the bottom of your feet can become dry, irritated and inflamed. By doing stretching exercises before any physical activity, and using an ice pack after, the inflammation can be lessened.
7. And you thought losing weight would be good for your feet? Think again. Unfortunately foot pain can be one of the ” Rewards” for losing weight. Any change in your weight, gained or lost, causes the muscles in the foot to expand or contract. The shoes you have been wearing may now be giving too much or too little support due to a change as small as 10 pounds. Shoe inserts, called Orthotics, can help. Dr. Ben Wehrli, DPM offers custom orthotics in his office, therefore I would not recommend purchasing them else where.
8. The Hip Bone Connected To the Leg Bone. Remember that popular childhood rhyme? Hip, knee, back or leg injuries can lead to foot pain. Injuries that cause you to favor one side or the other can cause Bursitis, an inflammation of the joints particularly the back of the heel. Off balance posture can also cause Morton’s Neuroma, an inflammation of the nerve in the ball of the foot, and stress fractures. Anti inflammatory medications can help as can ice and rest. The only really effective cure is to treat the injury that is causing you to be off balance. Dr. Wherli recommends a thorough evaluation by a professional.
9. Exercise is supposed to be good for you -right? Yes exercise is important for good health, but that new fitness class could be causing your foot pain. High intensity workouts without the proper shoes can cause stress fractures. Even normal activity can cause this in a bone weakened by other conditions such as poor diet, medication or long periods of inactivity. Signs of stress fractures are moderate and lingering pain rather than a sharp shooting pain. Just slowing down combined with rest can often relieve the problem, but of course see your physician as soon as possible.
10. Congratulations! Pregnancy brings many joys, but unfortunately, along with morning sickness, foot pain can become a problem. Pregnancy brings about hormone changes that allow the ligaments in your hips to ease the birthing process. Great for baby, but not so great for your feet. Your feet will experience swelling and possible development of bunions and hammertoes. While the swelling will eventually go down, stretched ligaments tend to stay that way. The good news? Now you have the perfect excuse to treat yourself to new shoes.
11. What exactly are flat feet? Years ago flat feet could get you out of being drafted because you would not be able to march long distances. Having flat feet, or excessively high arches strains the ligaments in your ankles. A collapsed arch, or flat foot causes strain on the ligaments on the inside, while high arches strain the ligaments on the outside of the ankle. Both lead to discomfort and this is another blessing you can thank your parents for, as these are inherited traits. Dr. Ben Wehrli, DPM recommends arch supports, or in some cases even custom orthotic shoes.
12. On your feet!!! For many of us that is not just a command, it is the way we normally work. Today everyone is working longer and ten hours a day on your feet is not uncommon. This can lead to swelling, soreness and those conditions do not just go away. Some things to try are anti-inflammatory drugs like naproxen or ibuprofen. Also consider different shoes. There are many shoes that are comfortable and attractively styled. Some people even keep an extra pair of shoes at the office-one for comfort and one dressy. A good tip to alleviate discomfort is to roll a frozen bottle or ice pack under your foot for about 20 minutes. You can do this up to four times a day. Again, Dr. Ben Wehrli, DPM recommends professional valuation whenever there is persistent pain.
If you are experiencing foot pain and want relief call and make an appointment to see Ben Wehrli, DPM. His team of professionals at CVFA Institute have experience treating and diagnosing foot pain and will help you understand the cause and provide an appropriate treatment plan. Don’t live with pain or ignore the warning signs take care of your feet today!