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The human foot is comprised of twenty-six bones, thirty-three joints and more than a hundred ligaments, tendons and muscles. While it’s easy to think of your feet as a fairly simple part of your body, they’re actually intricate and complex systems. Protecting your feet from injury is an important part of caring for your body, and one that people often neglect until they’re actively seeking treatment for foot pain.
Image Credit: Ivan Lian
Common Causes of Foot Pain
Because there are so many ligaments, tendons and other structures contained within your foot, there are a lot of places where complications can potentially arise. Pain in the heel is most often caused by plantar fasciitis, which is the term used by medical professionals to describe a condition in which the band of connective tissue between the toes and heel bone becomes inflamed. This pain tends to be worse first thing in the morning, and may extend to the arch of the affected foot. Heel spurs can also be a common cause of heel pain. It’s estimated that up to one in ten people has heel spurs, though only about one in twenty will experience foot pain as a result of them.
Fallen arches is another common source of foot discomfort, and can lead to more problems if they’re left untreated. Your podiatrist may suggest shoe inserts, physical therapy or use of a brace to ease the pain of fallen arches and prevent further complications. In some cases, surgery may also be necessary.
Pain in the ball of the foot is called metatarsalgia, and is usually the result of wearing poorly-fitted shoes or strenuous activity. In many cases, this can be remedied with a shoe insert and over-the-counter pain relievers. Inflammation of the tendons around the big toe, or sesamoiditis, can also cause pain in the ball of your foot. This can be caused by traumatic injury, and is often treated with cold compresses, rest and wearing a foot pad under the affected toe in an appropriate shoe. Steroid injections may also be suggested in some cases.
Preventing Foot Pain
While some conditions can arise despite proper foot care, there are things you can do to reduce your chances of suffering injury or needing treatment for foot pain. This includes wearing comfortable and appropriately-fitting shoes, maintaining a proper diet in order to avoid gout and taking measures to prevent foot trauma.
Treatment for Foot Pain
When you visit a podiatrist in search of treatment for foot pain, the type of treatment suggested will depend upon the diagnosis you receive. Treatment for conditions like Morton’s neuroma, for instance, may be as simple as using shoe inserts or require surgery. When you seek treatment for foot pain, it’s important to be honest with your podiatrist so an accurate diagnosis can be made. The prescribed course of treatment may also depend upon your lifestyle and the severity of any present condition.
If you’re experiencing foot pain, it’s important that you make an appointment with a foot specialist in order to obtain a diagnosis and treatment for foot pain. Some conditions can worsen when they go untreated, and foot pain can have a significant negative impact on your quality of life.
Dr. Marc Katz is a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine and co-owner of Advanced Podiatry , a podiatric practice committed to providing the finest podiatric foot and ankle care in a warm and friendly environment in order to make you feel relaxed and comfortable. If you are in the Tampa, Florida area, Dr. Katz and his friendly team would love to help YOU finally become free of your foot and ankle pain!
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