“Walking is cheap, fun, safe and acceptable exercise.” – Annie Taylor
Research and experience have proven that walking can be as beneficial as running or most any other exercise when it comes to weight loss, improving cardio fitness, and increasing stamina and endurance.
However, chronic foot pain can prevent that from happening.
Any kind of foot pain can be irritating or even crippling, depending on its severity and location. But there are certain areas of the foot that are commonly afflicted with chronic pain.
It Hurts When I Walk!
Even if you’re not walking for fitness, you still must walk to get around. Mobility is essential for humans and, barring other physical issues, pain in various areas of the foot can diminish that. Pain that is acute or temporary can often be worked through, but chronic, persistent or – even worse – increasing pain can literally cripple you.
While there are numerous reasons for foot pain and several causes of chronic pain in the feet, there are three common areas of the foot that are subject to chronic pain.
- On the inside of the foot, which is called medial foot pain.
- On the outside, which is lateral foot pain.
- On or in the toes, which is the forefoot.
The problem is that so much of the anatomy of the human foot is systemically related to other parts of the body, especially the ankles, knees, and hips. Aside from actual diseases or foot deformities, the cause of your chronic foot pain could originate outside of the area of the foot your pain is presenting.
While the causes of chronic foot pain – aside from disease and structural deformities – can be varied and numerous, there are three common causes that we have seen when treating foot pain.
Three Common Causes of Chronic Foot Pain
Repetitive Overuse of Certain Areas
Overuse of muscles and tendons in the foot that are not given enough time to rest and recover are perhaps the most common cause of chronic foot pain. Repetitive stress or use over time can lead to conditions that start out slightly painful but can become debilitating and chronically painful.
This is more common in active people such as amateur athletes and others. Proper time for rest is required for complete recovery and, if neglected, can lead to overuse injuries.
Examples of overuse injuries include:
- Stress Fractures
- Plantar Fasciitis
- Achilles tendonitis
Incomplete Healing of Injuries
Sometimes an ankle sprain, a severely pulled or torn tendon or muscle, and even a fractured bone can go without treatment when the sufferer chooses to “just walk it off.” If the injury does not heal incorrectly it may seem to recover, but will continue to cause you pain.
Unfortunately, these types of pain issues will not usually go away untreated. Chronic pain results and can negatively impact your quality of life.
Some examples of foot injuries that should be treated immediately include:
- Ankle sprains
- Achilles tendon injuries
- Broken foot, toe, or ankle bones
Improper Gait or Footwear
Wearing bad shoes such as heels or a pair that is worn down on a consistent basis can cause several foot pain issues. Examples of improper footwear include shoes that are too tight or constrictive, especially in the front. This is true for both men’s and women’s shoes.
This issue is not necessarily due to the width of the shoes, however. Shoes that are narrow in the front and compress the toes can irritate bunions and exacerbate other conditions such as neuromas.
A lack of support in the center of the arch is another characteristic of poor footwear. If your shoe can be bent in the middle with little effort, there is not enough support in a critical area and wearing the shoes can lead to plantar fasciitis and other foot problems over time.
An improper walking gait can cause pain issues in the back, hips, knees, and ankles. And it can even impact your feet.
According to one source, “If your foot shape or gait mechanics deviate too far from a ‘normal,’ neutral stride, you can start to become more susceptible to things like heel pain, shin splints, stress fractures, bunions, and other deformities or sports injuries.”
For example, an antalgic gait is a gait that develops as a way to avoid pain while walking. A painful, or antalgic, gait may occur when the body compensates to protect an injury to the foot, ankle, knee hips or pelvis. Unfortunately, the resulting dysfunctional gait can lead to further pain in different areas of the foot.
Treating Pain Areas of the Foot with Pain and Performance Solutions
At Pain and Performance Solutions we are deeply knowledgeable on the subject of foot pain, gait, and the causes of pain and dysfunctional movement. We are able to employ a variety of methods for diagnosing your pain issues, identifying the actual cause of your pain, and getting you on the path to freedom from pain.
At your first appointment, we will learn about your present pain as well as any history of discomfort. This is because treating and relieving the pain in areas of the foot starts when we understand where and how your pain started.
A full examination will help us determine which form of treatment technique and therapy will be best suited to get you on your road to recovery. Because our bodies will compensate for pain to allow us to function during our day, the pain can shift around and lead to other forms of pain.
Ultimately, getting your body healthy and working properly is the only way to achieve total recovery. In the process, your trust in us is key, as is your honesty. So, don’t hesitate to reach out. We are here to help and will answer any questions that you may have.
We can be reached at (707) 636-4404 or by filling out our online contact form.