Aching feet can be a symptom of something more serious that needs urgent treatment. Find out what’s behind your foot pain and how to get relief here.
75% of Americans will experience foot problems at some point in their lives. We rely on our feet for movement and other essential tasks. This is why most of us will experience acute foot pain at some point in our lives.
Some causes are common, such as improper footwear. But foot pain can also mean there are other serious problems to be aware of.
Do you have aching feet? Here are 9 possible explanations, broken down between non-threatening and serious conditions.
Most causes of foot pain aren’t alarming. But this doesn’t mean action isn’t required. If your feet are aching, take a look at these possible causes first.
1. Blisters and Calluses
Calluses are thickened areas of the skin when lots of pressure forms. Blisters form similarly, except blisters are pockets of fluid that build up in the upper layers of your skin.
We usually get calluses and blisters when our feet rub up against our shoe.
Fortunately, both blisters are calluses aren’t dangerous and they heal on their own. Never try and pop a blister without the aid of a doctor.
The best course of action is preventing a blister and callus. Always wear comfortable shoes and socks that fit. Keep your feet moisturized.
2. Ingrown Toenails
An ingrown toenail usually occurs when the edge of a toenail rubs against the skin of the toe. You’ll first notice the toenail looks red and swollen. Severe cases will cause pus to appear near the infected site.
Ingrown toenails are gross and painful. However, they’re easy to treat. Just regularly soak your foot to prevent an infection.
Serious ingrown toenail infections need to be monitored and treated by the doctor. If you let the infection persist, it can spread to your bones and other severe areas.
3. Improper Footwear
Improper footwear is a common cause of foot pain. This usually includes shoes that are too tight and cause your foot muscles to ache. You can also wear shoes that are harmful to your feet, such as high heels.
Always wear shoes that fit perfectly. Avoid high heels. If you’re performing a physical activity, such as long-term walking and running, wear shoes with plenty of support.
If you’re constantly on your work for work or another reason, invest in foot pads to prevent long-term foot pain.
4. Acute Injury
While acute injuries are painful, they usually require minor treatment. Some injuries can even be treated at home.
A common acute injury is Achilles tendonitis. This is the overuse and over-stretching of the tendons in your feet.
Acute Achilles tendonitis can be treated at home by resting your feet and legs, compressing the tendons and keeping your ankle propped up. Serious causes, such as Achilles tendon rupture, require surgery and even physical therapy.
Other examples include athlete’s foot, muscle sprains, ligament sprains, fractures, and bruises.
5. Overuse of the Foot
If you’re always on your feet, your feet will inevitably start to hurt. This is common if you’re always walking for work, are constantly running, or are at a festival, convention or another event when you’re on your feet for hours.
The best course of action is to rest your foot muscles. If this isn’t an option, try and wear supportive shoes or invest in some insoles to cushion your feet. Always wear proper footwear that fits perfectly, such as sneakers instead of flip flops.
Not all examples of foot pain are minor and common issues. Excessive and constant foot pain can be the symptom of a more serious condition. Here are other ailments to keep in mind.
6. Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome
Tarsal tunnel syndrome is the compression of the posterior tibial nerve, a nerve you find in your ankle.
Tarsal tunnel syndrome has many causes. If you sprained your ankle, the injury can also damage the nerve. Deformities such as flat feet can also impact this nerve.
Medical examinations are usually required. You may need a steroid injection, a brace or cast on your foot, and custom shoe inserts. In serious cases, surgery is required to treat the nerve and relieve your pain.
7. Plantar Fasciitis
The plantar fascia is the thick band of connective tissue in the sole of your foot. Irritation and inflammation of this tissue is plantar fasciitis. Plantar Fasciitis has many causes.
Prolonged standing, walking, and running are common causes. Obesity and improper footwear are other causes. Deformities such as flat feet and high-arched feet can also cause Plantar Fasciitis.
Surgery is rarely performed for this issue. Most medical professionals recommend reducing walking and running activity and wearing special shoes or insoles. For severe pain, a medical professional will administer a steroid injection.
8. Morton’s Neuroma
Morton’s neuroma is the thickening of the tissue surrounding the small nerves in your toes. It feels like a sharp pain in the ball of your foot. This pain can also spread to your toes, causing discomfort while walking.
Medical professionals aren’t sure why Morton’s neuroma occurs, but it’s theorized it’s caused by excessive high heel wear or existing deformities.
Surgery is performed as a last resort. But most patients require special shoes to take the pressure off of the nerves.
Osteoarthritis is the breakdown of cartilage from within a joint. This usually occurs from excessive physical activity. Osteoarthritis not only causes severe pain but also immobility. Osteoarthritis can also worsen with physical activity.
Most patients with osteoarthritis undergo lifestyle changes, physical therapy, and devices to aid in mobility. Surgery is also performed if the pain is too intense and interferes with your life.
Do You Have Aching Feet?
We use our feet for many activities. This is one of the many reasons why aching feet is common. Foot pain isn’t always a reason for concern. However, intense and constant foot pain may be the symptom of a serious ailment.
Always be aware of any other symptoms and lifestyle factors that can contribute to aching feet. Always contact your doctor if you suspect anything serious.
Are you based in Brooklyn? We offer podiatry services for simple and severe cases.