Photo credit: iStockphoto/paisan191

Photo credit: iStockphoto/paisan191

Do your feet hurt when you walk? You might think you have a heel spur, but there’s more than one culprit that can contribute to foot pain. 

Could Your Pain Be a Heel Spur?

A heel spur is caused by calcium deposits on the underside of your heel bone that occur over time. However, only about 50% of people who have a heel spur actually experience any foot pain. Most of the time, a heel spur isn’t found until an X-ray of the foot is taken. On an X-ray, a heel spur appears as a protrusion that extends forward from the heel by as much as a half inch.

For other people, pain from a heel spur can be described as a knife or pin being stuck into the bottom of their foot, especially after first getting up in the morning. However, the pain eventually subsides to a dull ache. But the sharp pain may return when they stand up after sitting for long periods of time.

Could Your Pain Be Plantar Fasciitis?

On the other hand, your foot pain may not be caused by a heel spur. The type of pain described above is also common with plantar fasciitis, which is an inflammation of the plantar fascia. Your plantar fascia is the flat, thick band of tissue that runs across the bottom of your foot, connecting your heel bone to your toes. When you strain your plantar fascia, it becomes weak, swollen and inflamed. Plantar fasciitis causes pain when you stand or walk.

Therefore, you shouldn’t automatically assume what’s causing your foot pain. Since the foot is a complex structure of ligaments, tendons and bones, your foot pain can actually come from a variety of sources. So you should determine what the true underlying problem is. 

Defining Your Foot Pain 

To help your doctor make an accurate diagnosis and treatment of your foot pain, he/she needs to know exactly where you pain is originating from, what it feels like, and what may be causing it. Some common questions you may need to answer, include:

  • Is your pain in your toes, the ball of your foot, your arch, your heel or your ankle?
  • Is your pain sharp, dull, or burning?
  • What does your pain feel like? Do you feel like you’re being stabbed by a knife? Walking on thumb tacks? Standing on a pebble in your shoe?
  • Does your pain occur first thing in the morning when you rise from bed?
  • Do you feel pain after sitting for prolonged time periods?
  • Does your pain get worse after physical activity?
  • Are your feet swollen when the pain occurs?
  • Did your pain come on suddenly or over time?

Foot Pain Causes

Photo credit: 123RF/dotshock

Photo credit: 123RF/dotshock

Some common causes of foot pain include:

  •  Repetitive overuse injuries – These types of injuries are due to repeated use of the muscles and bones of the foot. Athletes, people who work on their feet, and those who are overweight are susceptible to overuse injuries. Plantar fasciitis, Morton’s neuroma, metatarsalgia and Achilles tendonitis are examples of overuse injuries.
  • Impact injuries – These type of injuries are due to damage to the foot from a direct blow with a moving or stationary object. Impact injuries can cause bone fractures or soft tissue injuries.
  • Arthritis – Inflammation and swelling cause arthritis pain. Typically, arthritis affects the middle part of the foot and the big toe joint.
  • Running, jumping or other strenuous activities – These activities can lead to overuse or impact injuries.
  • Wearing high heels – The height of the heel you’re wearing can cause pain, because the toes and the ball of your foot are forced to carry your body’s weight. Morton’s neuroma and bunions are common foot conditions found in women who wear high heels.
  • Improperly fitted footwear – When you wear shoes that don’t fit your feet properly, you can develop corns, calluses, bunions and other foot conditions.

How to Get Back on Your Feet 

Some things you can do to recover from foot pain include: 

  • Take anti-inflammatory medications to reduce your pain.
  • Apply ice to reduce pain and inflammation.
  • Perform stretches. Foot stretches can strengthen your foot and ankle muscles, increase your flexibility, and restore your range of motion.
  • Properly fit your shoes. Wear shoes that match the shape of your foot. For example, tapered toe boxes for slender feet and square toe boxes for broad feet. Refer to the WalkEZStore’s Shoe Fitting Guide for tips on how to correctly fit your shoes for better comfort.
  • Wear the appropriate shoes for your activity. To support your feet properly, wear the right shoe for the activity – running shoes for running, hiking shoes for a hike or work boots for work.
  • Wear ezWalker® Custom Fit Orthotics. When you wear custom orthotics, the arches of your feet will be properly supported for better biomechanical alignment. Every step you take will be controlled throughout the gait cycle. ezWalker® Custom Orthotics absorb the shock of each step, reducing the stress and strain on your feet. Your foot pain will be reduced, bringing you relief. Visit the WalkEZStore to learn how ezWalker® Custom Fit Orthotics can reduce any painful foot conditions you may suffer from. To order your pair of ezWalker® Custom Orthotics, click here

Because … when your feet feel good, you feel good.® 

Note: If your pain persists, see your doctor for an accurate diagnosis and treatment. Persistent pain can indicate a more serious condition.

Disclaimer: The information included in this article is for educational purposes only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.