Foot Pain! These days, it is just as common as thirst and hunger. According to a Journal published by University of Maryland Medical Centre, foot pain is often experienced by around 75 % of world population. Although foot pain may not be a daunting condition to worry about, you shouldn’t ignore the pain in feet if it persists for longer period as well as if the foot pain increases.Before looking into the types of feet pain and the home remedies for foot pain, let us see the causes for pain in feet.
What are the Causes of Foot Pain
There are many causes for foot pain. Understanding the various causes and identification of right cause of foot pain helps finding the right solution. Following are the common causes of foot pain and what you can do to get rid of the pain.
Some common causes of pain in feet include,
- Fracture – fracture (whether very mild or severe) leads to foot pain. In most cases, many people may not be able to identify fracture for a long time. Foot pain often accompanies swelling and skin turning black when it is due to fracture.
- Overweight / obesity – Your feet are what takes you everywhere and thus the whole body weight is carried by your feet. Too much weight put a lot of stress on the feet, leading to foot pain.
- Nervous weakness – General weakness of nerves affects your foot and give rise to pain.
- Neuropathy – Neuropathy refers to nerve damages and it may happen in any part of the body. When the nerves are damaged in foot, it leads to extreme pain. Neuropathy is caused mainly by diabetes.
- Tendinitis – It refers to inflammation of the bands attached to bones, swelling of muscles and irritation of nerves.
- Bone weakness – Just like nervous weakness, weaker bones or bone degeneration also leads to foot pain.
Except being overweight, other conditions that cause foot pain indicates that food pain is the symptom of a disease, that may or may not be associated with foot. Doing some exercises for foot pain and using home remedies may help reduce the pain to a great extent. However, when foot pain is a symptom of some other medical condition, only treating the underlying condition can help relieve foot pain permanently. This will also prevent the recurrence of pain.
Is your Foot Pain a Sign of an Underlying Health Condition?
There are many causes of foot pain. Some of the causes are very mild, almost like the ones described above. However, some causes indicate a serious or severe underlying condition that you cannot ignore.
It will often come as a surprise to many as foot pain isn’t always associated really with foot, but an indication that something is wrong in your body. In these cases, the foot pain is often an outcome of a condition that is associated with your spine.
Spine health and foot pain
Nerves in the spinal cord are connected with the foot nerve. So, any damage or inflammation to the nerves or inflamed muscles around your spine affects the nerves connecting the foot. It leads to foot pain. The degree of foot pain ranges from mild to severe. Those with chronic spine conditions find it very difficult even to move their feet apart. Although it is mentioned as foot pain, more people suffer from severe ankle pain or toe pain.
Some of the conditions associated with spine health that lead to foot pain include,
- Pinched nerve
- Sciatica – swollen or damaged nerves that connect the spine to the foot
- Nerve compression in the lower back
- Disc bulge or disc prolapse
- Deterioration of spinal cord (low bone density and weaker bones)
- Muscle spasms in the back
- Inflammation of the nerves
These are also the causes of back pain
How to identify whether the foot pain is caused by spinal issue?
Here is a trick to identify whether your foot pain is associated with poor spine health. When you wake up in the morning, you will find it literally very difficult to move your ankles and walk a few steps. Throbbing pain affect your mobility immediately after you wake up. So, if you experience ankle pain or toe pain immediately after you get up in the morning, you might be suffering from a health condition associated with spine.
If you are unable to move your foot and proceed with ankle walk, a nerve is compressed in your lower back.
If you are unable to move your ankle and walk on your toes, you suffer from sciatica, inflammation of the nerve.
If you have constant foot pain, your back is injured.
In such cases where your foot pain is due to some spine related issue, any topical remedies or home treatments may prove ineffective to provide relief from such foot pain. The logic is simple. You are addressing the symptom and not the cause. Although the pain may reduce to a great extent merely with ice or heat massage, it lasts only for a few hours. Until you strengthen your spine, take proper treatments to cure the spinal conditions, the foot pain won’t spare you!
Types of Foot Pain and Remedies
Flat feet aren’t a specific health condition that causes foot pain. As indicated by it names, this condition refers to the feet that do not have the curve typical of a foot. Those who have flat feet or when the arches of the feet flattens due to aging, it leads to foot pain. people who are born with flat feet are often affected by severe pain.
Remedies for foot pain caused by flat feet?
The best remedy for foot pain caused due to flat feet is wearing right shoes with adjustments and inserts. To reduce pain, ice therapy works best. Just massage your feet with ice and choose the right shoes.
If you suffer from heel pain, it might be due to plantar fasciitis or sciatic pain. Plantar fasciitis refers to the inflammation of the tissues in the heel bone that connects with the toe. It hurts badly in the mornings and makes it difficult for you to walk. You may feel pain in your heel as well in the arch of the foot.
Remedies for heel pain due to plantar fasciitis?
- Take rest and don’t move too much
- Do stretches
- Wear shoes that support the foot arch
Heel spurs refer to extra or abnormal growth of bones at the bottom of the heels. In most cases, the extra growth of bone is found only in one leg. Heel spurs is an outcome of wearing wrong shoes, too much running, wrong posture etc. Heel spur is very common. However, it becomes painful only for a few people. Especially those with flat feet and high arch often experience severe foot pain.
Remedies for pain due to heel spur?
It is not easy to reduce the pain caused due to heel spurs. You have to try different home remedies to reduce such foot pain.
- Massage the heels with your hands
- Soak feet in warm water
- Apply ice
- Keep your foot elevated when you sleep
Pain in Ball of the Foot
It is a moderate or deep bruise that affects the heel pad or ball of the foot. It happens due to soft injury like slipped leg when you step on any hard object or minor injury. You will feel like you walk on a pebble or stone.
Remedies for foot pain due to stone bruise?
In most cases, the pain eases away on its own in a couple of days. Just getting some rest is sufficient.
Ingrown Toe Nails
Toe pain is mainly caused due to ingrown toenails. Just like we get ingrown nails on fingers, they also grow on toes. Moreover, it also happens when you unknowingly leave a part of the toe nails while trying to trim the nails. Sometimes, it may end up causing inflammation and redness of the toes.
Remedies for foot pain due to ingrown toe nail?
Since it is often associated with poor foot care, a good foot care regimen helps treating the condition.
- Get foot soak at least thrice a day
- Apply oil, massage the toes and try to remove the edges of the toenails
Fungal infection of nails
Fungal infection of the nails is caused due to lack of hygiene. Wearing wet socks or wet shoes, improper foot care, poor quality footwear, etc. lead to infection. Other causes of fungal infection includes poor blood circulation and aging.
How to treat fungal infection and reduce foot pain?
- Wear quality footwear and socks
- Don’t expose the foot to dampness for a long time
- Walk for at least 20 minutes a day to get good blood circulation in the legs and foot
- Take warm foot soak and apply tea tree oil on the toes to treat infection.
The Big Toe Problem (Gout and Sesamoiditis)
Gout is a type of arthritis caused due to a buildup of uric acid crystals in the joints. First attack of the gout can be seen on big toe. In fact, the most common place for gout occurence is the base of the big toe. Other joints that can be affected by gout include the ankles, knees, wrists, fingers, and elbows. It leads to inflammation of the muscles and bones resulting into intense pain. In some people, this pain is so intense that even if the bed sheet gets touched with the toe, it causes severe pain.
Another condition that is similar to gout is sesamoiditis. The two bones of big toe are connected by tendons. Sesamoiditis is the painful inflammation of the sesamoid apparatus, located in the forefoot. A sesamoid is the bone embedded within a tendon or a muscle. Sesamoiditis leads to pain in the ball of the foot, especially on the inner side. When these tendons are injured or damaged or inflamed, it leads to inflammation of the foot with severe pain. It happens very commonly in ballet dancers and runners or other physically active people
Remedies for foot pain caused by Gout and Sesamoiditis?
The pain remedies include:
- minimize the movements
- cold and warm compress.
- Drink lots of water.
- Adequate fluid intake helps prevent acute gout attacks.
- Avoid alcohol as it causes gout by slowing down the excretion of uric acid.
- Avoid foods rich in purines (meat and seafood etc.) to reduce the uric level acid in the body.
However, it needs medical treatment when the pain becomes intolerable.
Hammer toe refers to a condition where the second, third and/or fourth toe bends like a hammer. This causes severe toe pain and it makes it difficult for you to walk. It is the condition which forces you for heel walk. Hammer toe is caused due to dislocation of muscles or muscle imbalance, usually due to improper footwear which the muscles in the toes can’t stretch out.
How to cure foot pain due to hammertoe?
Getting adequate rest is sufficient and stretching the toes with hand is what is generally needed to treat hammertoe. Besides, you may need to change your footwear. You might need to wear low-heeled shoes with deep toe box and flexible material that covers the toes. Certain exercises like toe crunch, taps, toe rolls, toe stretching and squeezing can help too.
Some strange causes of sudden foot pain
- You are working out too much, it puts a lot of strain. If you have never walked before, but then one day, you suddenly walk for 1 hour. It leads to foot pain.
- Your footwear isn’t comfortable. Here this is not about wearing high heels, but too tight or too loose sandal or shoes.
- Your back is strained. If you suddenly get stiff back, it reflects in your foot. A brief guide about how foot pain related with low back is mentioned later in this article.
- Diabetes! Foot health and diabetes are interrelated. When you experience sore foot too often, check your blood sugar levels. besides, you may also find that your foot is itchy and stabbing with mild to moderate irritation.
- Sudden onset of pain in feet is an indication of weight gain. Losing weight might help you get rid of such foot pain.
If you do suffer from foot pain, identify the cause of your foot pain and get the required treatment. You may also try some home remedies for foot pain.