Our feet are one of the most important parts of our body and taking care of them is a daily task. While preventative measures are always the best to stop any foot pain chronic progression, sometimes foot pain may be due to causes completely outside of our control. Heel of foot pain causes, and pain on the bottom of the foot, for example, may have more to do with the genetic shape of your foot, than the way in which, or how often, you walk.
However, while there are a wide variety of causes for foot pain, there are also a huge number of treatment options open to those suffering. These include everything from arch support provided by specialist insoles and orthotics to massage therapy, and even minimally invasive foot surgery. Here are some of the most common causes for foot pain, their symptoms, and how you can treat them.
Also known as policeman’s heel, plantar fasciitis is a cause of foot pain that can quickly become debilitating and carries a high risk of becoming a long-term foot pain condition. Its causes range from wearing the wrong type of shoes, overuse and regular walking on uneven surfaces, and issues with the general structure of the foot. Compressed nerves in the heel, and the loss of the heel pad over time can also contribute to this chronic foot pain.
Symptoms: The main symptom of plantar fasciitis is an intense pain in the heel of the foot. This foot pain may occur and increase gradually as you walk throughout the day; however, it can come on very suddenly from the moment you start walking.
Treatment: It’s important to warm up feet muscles with regular stretching before partaking in any potentially strenuous activity. If your foot pain is chronic, it is best to avoid intense sports and over-walking altogether. The most common treatment for plantar fasciitis is shoes or insoles with adequate arch support, that work to cushion the impact of walking and take pressure off important muscles in the heel.
Flat feet are relatively easy to identify, and are quite common; at least 1 in 10 people has symptoms of flat feet. Usually flat feet are formed during childhood, but this cause of foot pain can present much later in life due to injury, the general effects of ageing, weight gain, and pregnancy. For the most part this condition can be completely painless, but problems arise as a result of the loss of balance that the foot arch usually provides. This causes flat footed individuals to place extra stress on their feet, damaging connecting ligaments in the process. Flat feet can also result in pain after high impact exercise, or prolonged periods of time standing.
Symptoms: If the entire sole of the foot touches the ground when standing, flat feet is likely the cause. Flat feet can cause pain in a variety of areas on the foot, and lower leg, especially in the calf, ankle, heel, and spot where the arch would be.
Treatment: There are countless ways to work around flat feet in everyday life, like avoiding uneven surfaces when exercising, and taking pressure off your feet during the day if possible. The stress that walking and exercising places on flat feet can be greatly mitigated with the help of orthotics. In this situation insoles work to provide arch support and cushion any impact, preventing overpronation.
Heel of foot pain causes are not solely limited to plantar fasciitis, there are a range of causes for foot pain in this area. Another cause for foot pain is Achilles’ tendonitis, which affects the muscle connecting your calf to your heel. Achilles’ tendonitis is usually caused by an uptake in the strenuous nature or frequency of exercise or a training program and is most common among 40+ individuals who take part in sport
Symptoms: The main symptom of Achilles’ tendonitis is pain just above the heel of the foot. While pain on the bottom of the foot likely will not be present, Achilles tendonitis can still make walking extremely uncomfortable. Pain usually comes on during and after strenuous activity and can persist well into a rest period.
Treatment: Caring for Achilles’ tendonitis at home is more than possible, with a little help from general pain medications, and specialist orthotic devices. Orthotics such as a shoe insert or wedge are best in this situation, as they will help to raise the heel and provide relief from repeated impact.
Bunions, Corns, and Calluses
These causes for foot pain are often considered to be cosmetic conditions, but if left without proper treatment they can become foot pain chronic causes alarmingly quickly. Bunions develop as a result of the metatarsal bone moving out of alignment, causing a large, and painful, lump on the side of the big toe. Calluses can cause pain on the bottom of the foot, and heel pain, as a result of repeated friction on a certain area, resulting in a hard yet tender patch of skin. Finally, corns present in much the same way, a painful lump, or patch of skin on the foot, but are usually caused by pressure on the bones of the foot.
Symptoms: Thankfully bunions, corns, and calluses on the foot are relatively easy to locate. A bunion will cause swelling around the joint of the big toe on the side of the foot and will likely be painful when wearing shoes. Calluses are leathery patches of skin found on weight bearing areas such as the heel and ball of the foot. Finally, corns form a hard center, or ‘head’, and can be found on tops of the toes, or the outer edge of the foot.
Treatment: Wearing comfortable shoes can greatly help reduce foot pain caused by bunions, corns, and calluses. If the pain on the bottom of the foot persists due to impact, then using orthotics, such as insoles, to cushion the foot when walking or running can be a great help.
This cause of foot pain is commonly confused with plantar fasciitis, as it can affect the heel of the foot. However, bursitis, or the swelling of the bursa, fluid-filled sacs that protect your tendons, can cause pain in many areas of the foot. Wearing high heels or tight shoes for long periods, high impact exercise, and weight gain can all contribute to bursitis, and cause pain on the bottom of the foot.
Symptoms: An increase in fluid in the bursa can bring on a painful swelling of the affected area and cause the tendons of the foot to become inflamed. Another common symptom is a dull yet persistent ache in the balls of the feet that continues even after movement has stopped.
Treatment: General pain relief such as icing the affected area can provide instant relief for those suffering from bursitis. Reducing the impact on the affected area is always a smart step toward treating bursitis in the long term as a cause for foot pain. This can include wearing a shoe insert for arch support or using padded insoles to soften the stress on the bottoms of feet when walking.
How Orthotics Can Help You…
Orthotics, or artificial devices designed to reduce pain in the foot and joints of the body, are one of the leading ways to reduce foot pain. Recommended by doctors, OrthoFlexx orthotics are available to purchase with no prescription so you can take control of your foot pain. A range of orthotic devices are available on our site, such as shoe wedges, shoe inserts, and insoles that each mitigate the causes for foot pain, heel of foot pain, and pain on the bottom of the foot. Shoe orthotics can be placed inside footwear to elevate the foot and provide heel and arch support, provide impact relief, and reduce pressure on important feet muscles to reduce pain during strenuous exercise or jobs that require you to be on your feet all day. Check out our full range of orthotic products here