Foot Health Blog
Find expert articles from physical therapists and podiatrists to help understand, diagnose, and treat different foot health issues such as plantar fasciitis, bunions, flat feet, and more.
Causes of Burning Feet
Burning feet syndrome is a medical condition characterized by severe burning and aching sensations in the feet. The burning sensation is usually worse at night and often limited to the soles of the feet. Pain may be intermittent or constant and ranging from mild to severe. When it occurs, the feet may feel hot, tingly, prickly, or simply numb. Other symptoms of burning feet syndrome include redness of the skin, hypersensitivity, and vasomotor changes. Burning feet is a sign of nerve damage, although it can also result in fatigue or skin infection. As a result, the management of burning feet is often directed at preventing further nerve damage and relieving pain. What Causes Burning Feet? There are many causes of burning feet. Unfortunately, without a proper diagnosis of the cause, treatment may prove futile. Some of the most common causes include heavy alcohol intake, chemical exposure, chemotherapy, metabolic disorders, tarsal tunnel syndrome, nutritional deficiency, peripheral arterial disease, prolonged standing, tight and ill-fitting shoes, etc. We explain each in more detail below: Metabolic Disorders An underactive thyroid results in hypothyroidism and causes a disruption in hormonal balances within the body. This can cause swelling which in turn causes nerve compression, leading to burning feet syndrome. Likewise, a case of type 1 and 2 diabetes can also cause a burning sensation in the feet. Nutritional Deficiency The deficiency of vitamins B5, B-12 and E can cause a sensation of burning feet as the vitamins play a role in nerve health. For example, vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin that aids the functioning of the nervous system by stimulating myelin production and ensuring proper nerve conduction. Likewise, there may be a problem with vitamin absorption after a gastric bypass. In both cases, the result is vitamin B deficiency. This leads to burning feet which can worsen if the deficiency is not handled. Heavy Alcohol Intake Heavy alcohol intake can result in alcoholic neuropathy characterized by burning feet. Other associated symptoms include muscle weakness, muscle spasms, loss of muscle function, urinary and bowel dysfunction, vertigo, and impaired speech. Exposure to Chemicals Prolonged exposure to heavy metals and many industrial chemicals can cause peripheral neuropathy symptoms. Some medications used to treat certain conditions like HIV or seizures can also have a negative effect that results in nerve damage. Chemotherapy Chemicals used to irradiate cancer cells may cause peripheral neuropathy as a side effect. Other neuromuscular effects of chemotherapy may include tiredness, aching, muscle sprains, slow reflexes or motor skills, and balance and coordination problems. Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome Tarsal tunnel syndrome refers to a condition where the nerve that runs from the ankle to the foot is squeezed because of swelling or injury. This can lead to pain and burning in the foot. The pain may extend up the leg. Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) PAD presents with similar symptoms to that of peripheral neuropathy. It occurs as a result of the narrowing of the arteries in the leg and feet. This causes a burning sensation and pain in the feet. Prolonged Standing Prolonged standing can place the feet under intense stress and lead to severe burning in the feet. This is especially true when standing is done with improper footwear that doesn’t offer enough support or cushioning to the heel. Tight and Ill-Fitting Shoes When you wear improper shoes, you will exert more pressure on different areas of the feet. The increase in pressure can cause nerve compression and inadvertently lead to a burning sensation in the feet. Infections and Inflammation Burning feet is also a symptom of many infectious diseases, including tinea pedis (Athletes' foot), Lyme disease, HIV, syphilis, and shingles. How Do You Know if You Have Burning Feet? For people whose burning feet is traceable to a medical condition like diabetes, the diagnosis of burning feet is straightforward. When this is not possible, a detailed medical history is necessary to make a diagnosis. Upon presentation at the office of your doctor, the doctor will ask for a report of the history of your symptoms. That way, he will be able to determine the course of the symptoms, their progression, severity, intensity, and nature. Afterwards, the doctor will conduct a physical examination of the feet. Any observable changes in the feet will be noted and recorded. Additional investigations may also be needed. For example, the doctor can order a blood test to identify any nutritional deficiencies or endocrinal disorder. Where nerve damage is suspected, a nerve function test may also be prescribed. Other tests that may be carried out include an electromyography, nerve conduction test, and nerve biopsy.
Foot pain5 Effective Home Remedies for Burning Feet SyndromeBurning feet or Grierson-Gopalan syndrome causes a burning pain in the soles of the feet and a noticeable increase in skin temperature. Symptoms range from mild to severe discomfort and can be intermittent or constant. Burning feet syndrome can cause a worsening burning sensation at night and may be caused by various health conditions or unknown reasons, often from nerve damage in the feet. Examples of contributing conditions include diabetes, vitamin B12 deficiency, renal failure, and underactive thyroid function. Treatment for the underlying cause is crucial to slow the syndrome's progression and manage symptoms for normal daily activities and restful sleep. » Can orthotics help you manage burning feet syndrome? Browse Upstep's range of custom orthotics to find the perfect fit to relieve the pressure on your feet and provide support. Symptoms of Burning Feet Syndrome Burning sensation usually in the soles of the feet and, in severe cases, across the top of the foot and lower legHot and painful feet Feeling of heaviness or numbness in the feetDull ache in the feet Worsening of symptoms at night Symptoms improve during the dayIncreased sweating Changes in skin color, usually in the form of red spots Are There Effective Home Remedies for Burning Feet Syndrome? The following home remedies or treatments for burning feet may prove helpful in managing the symptoms you may experience on a daily basis: Custom orthotics These may prove to be an effective way to manage the symptoms you experience on a daily basis by providing the soles of your feet with a supportive and cushioned surface to move off of. This will reduce any areas of increased pressure in the sole of the foot.Soaking the feet in cold water Doing this for approximately 15 minutes at night can relieve the burning sensation and improve sleep. Avoid ice-cold water as this may aggravate your symptoms. Elevating the feet and legs This will provide pain relief in the feet and legs when resting or at the end of the day as it may reduce any painful swelling. Medication Prescription meds provided by a doctor can treat any underlying health condition that may be causing burning feet syndrome. Anti-inflammatory drugs, anti-seizure, and antidepressant medications may help treat symptoms associated with burning feet syndrome and chronic pain. Anti-fungal medication can be prescribed to treat fungal infections associated with burning feet syndrome, such as athlete's foot.Topical creams or ointments Similar to prescription meds, these can also provide relief from the burning pain sensation caused by this syndrome. Creams are applied directly to the foot using a gentle massage technique. Preventing Burning Feet Syndrome Managing the health conditions and lifestyle components contributing to the worsening of the syndrome will be helpful in slowing it down as you age, among other factors, such as the following: Manage metabolic disorders Metabolic disorders such as diabetes can lead to nerve damage. Ensuring blood-sugar levels are controlled using insulin and a balanced diet will prove to be effective in reducing symptoms of neuropathy in the feet and other future complications arising.Manage autoimmune disorders Managing autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis can reduce the risk of developing burning feet syndrome.Drink less alcohol Reducing alcohol intake limits damage caused to the nerves of the feet, otherwise known as alcoholic neuropathy.Prevent vitamin deficiencies A vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to nerve damage in the feet. Vitamin B12 supplements can increase these levels in the body and protect the nerves from further damage.Be wary of heat damage Reduce the amount of heat your feet may be exposed to. Be aware that you may not feel your skin burning in hot water or close to a heat source due to the nerve damage present in your feet.Exercise the right amount Extended periods of physical activity could aggravate symptoms associated with burning feet syndrome. Ensuring footwear is adequate and not tight-fitting should reduce your chances of aggravating your symptoms.Wear comfortable and supportive shoes Ensuring footwear is adequate and not tight-fitting should reduce your chances of aggravating your symptoms.Examine your feet daily Examine your feet daily for signs of infection or injury, which will ensure that any reasons for concern will be identified early on and managed correctly, thus preventing possible complications. Regular examinations of the foot in people with conditions such as diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis are essential. In severe cases in which the burning sensation is unbearable and limits daily activity, consult with a medical professional regarding other pain management strategies such as medication. Should your symptoms progressively get worse, consult with a podiatrist or medical professional to identify the cause and an appropriate treatment method for Grierson-Gopalan syndrome to help you.
Foot painCommon Causes of Burning HeelsBurning heels can be very troubling. The feet feel hot, with possible tingling, prickling, or numbness experienced intermittently or constantly, ranging from mild to severe. The foot pain is often worse at night and may indicate underlying nerve damage or a disorder of the nerves supplying the foot. Some people may even experience burning feet that feel cold. These symptoms can be limited to the soles of the feet. Sometimes, however, they can affect the top of the feet, the ankles, and even the lower legs. This set of symptoms is sometimes referred to as Grierson-Gopalan syndrome. There are different causes of burning feet. It is essential to identify them, as treatment depends on the underlying cause. Read on to learn more about some of the causes of burning sensations in the feet and when you should seek help. 1. Nerve Damage The most common cause of a burning feeling in your feet is nerve damage. Precursors to nerve damage include diabetes (diabetic neuropathy), alcohol consumption (alcoholic neuropathy), degenerative changes to the bones (peripheral neuropathy), and several other conditions that will be discussed separately. The progression of the nerve damage depends on the cause. For example, with alcoholic neuropathy, progression is primarily slow and extended over a long period. It is found among people who have a long history of consuming large amounts of alcohol. Nerve damage can also result in the skin of the heels becoming dry and cracked. When the skin cracks and flakes, there is often a burning sensation where the skin is dry. Nerve damage can become irreversible, so the earlier it is addressed, the better. To prevent and reduce the symptoms of burning heels, the aim should be to stop the progression of the nerve damage as soon as possible. 2. Organ Dysfunctions When an organ like the kidney becomes dysfunctional, toxic waste builds up in the bloodstream. These toxins damage the peripheral nerves, leading to peripheral neuropathy, otherwise known as uremic neuropathy. The greater the organ dysfunction, the greater the level of nerve damage that can be expected. When the nerves in the feet are affected, it can cause burning heels. A similar condition results from peripheral arterial disease (PAD). Instead of the arteries dilating to allow blood flow to the feet and legs, they begin to constrict, leading to neuropathy. 3. Side Effects of Medications Several medications have the unwanted side effects of causing nerve damage when used for long periods. Some of these medications include thalidomide, pyridoxine, amitriptyline, chloroquine, disulfiram, cimetidine, phenytoin, lithium, metronidazole, colchicine, and nitrous oxide. In addition to these, the medications used in cancer treatment like paclitaxel and cisplatin also cause peripheral neuropathy as a side effect. This medication-induced neuropathy can cause sensory and motor symptoms such as burning heel pain. 4. Nutritional Deficiencies When there is a deficiency of nutrients required by the body for the maintenance of nerve health, nerve damage occurs, and you can present with burning heels. In particular, vitamins (including vitamin B12, B6, and B9), magnesium, and potassium are all necessary nutrients, and a deficiency in any of these can cause burning heels. To combat this, ensure you take the minimum recommended amount of each nutrient. For example, an average daily intake of 2.4 micrograms of vitamin B12 is recommended to maintain serum levels of the nutrient and prevent a vitamin B12 deficiency. 5. Infectious Diseases Infectious diseases can also attack nerve heads and the body, causing burning heel pain. Examples of infections that may result in burning feet include Lyme disease, HIV, syphilis, shingles, and athlete’s foot (tinea pedis). It is important to treat any infection promptly before it causes irreversible damage to your nerves and spreads to nerves other than those in the feet. 6. Physical Trauma, Injury, or Stress Physical injury, stress, and trauma can also cause burning heels—and it doesn’t even have to be serious trauma. Placing extended pressure on a nerve (e.g., when wearing casts or tight shoes or being in the same position for too long) can cause nerve damage. Forceful and repetitive movements that put pressure on the ligaments and tendons cause swelling, which then compresses the nerves in the area. Other more severe injuries like injury from a car accident, playing sports, falls, or medical procedures or surgeries can also cause nerve damage. Left uncontrolled, these physical injuries or trauma can lead to an uncommon, chronic pain called complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS). This condition significantly exacerbates the symptoms of the initial injury. For stress, the solution is to rest and find the correct shoes and insoles for burning feet. For physical trauma and injury, ensure that you treat all foot injuries and trauma promptly. Treatments for Burning Heels Fortunately, there are a number of ways in which you can treat burning heels: Orthotics Custom-made insoles are widely accepted as an effective way of alleviating a burning foot sensation. This is achieved by providing ample cushioning. Medication Various medications can also serve you well in terms of soothing your burning feet. This typically includes nutritional supplements, antidepressants, pain medication, and antifungal drugs. The downside of this treatment method is that it requires prior medical consultation. Home remedies There are multiple home remedies for burning heels, however, the effectiveness of each treatment largely depends on the cause of the condition. We have a guide that provides a more extensive overview of burning feet as well as the treatment methods mentioned above.
Foot painWhat Is a Stone Bruise and What Can You Do About It?Foot pain is common among runners. It can occur as pain in the forefoot, pain in the back of the heel, or even bottom midfoot pain. A stone bruise is a type of foot pain that occurs in the ball of your foot or heel pad. It is the general name for any foot pain that feels like stepping on a small stone whenever you put weight onto your foot. It can also refer to the pain caused by actually stepping down on a stone or pebble. In both cases, pain is accompanied by tenderness and inflammation. This guide discusses the causes, diagnosis, and treatment of stone bruises. How Are Stone Bruises Caused? Stone bruises are the aftermath of impact on the ball of the foot or heel pad after stepping on a stone or running on broken ground. It occurs when the bones near the end of the foot press against one another. This affects the nerves, causing them to become painful and inflamed. Because we spend so much time on our feet, a stone bruise can be extremely painful. The pain can develop instantly, or it can take up to 48 hours before the first pain symptoms develop in some cases. Apart from stepping on a stone or running on broken ground, any physical activity that requires repetitive heavy impacts on the foot (e.g., running or jumping) can also cause a stone bruise. In fact, heel pain after running is quite common. Additional factors include structural abnormalities like flat feet or high arches, excess weight, loss of fat padding in the foot, poor footwear, and foot conditions like bunions and rheumatoid arthritis. These all increase the chances of developing a stone bruise. Self-Diagnosis of Stone Bruises You can easily diagnose a case of stone bruising by yourself. You should expect to experience foot pain that ranges from mild to severe, usually centered around the ball of the foot or footpad. This pain can be a tingling, shooting, sharp, or burning sensation. It can also develop slowly or abruptly. You must exercise caution in settling for a diagnosis, as many foot conditions can mimic the symptoms of stone bruises. Some of the most common of these conditions are metatarsalgia, plantar fasciitis, heel spurs, stress fractures, and Morton’s neuroma. If you suspect it is a stone bruise, but the condition doesn’t improve despite resting and care, consider having your foot checked by a podiatrist or a doctor. It takes on added importance if you notice inflammatory signs like redness, soreness, and swelling. How to Treat Stone Bruises Most times, a stone bruise will go away on its own. Sometimes, however, there are recovery delays, and it does not resolve quite as easily. Here are a few things you can do to fast-track the recovery process. Orthotics Orthotics can help in reducing pain from injuries. You can use insoles or running inserts for extra arch support. A metatarsal pad can also be useful in taking the pressure off of the affected area.Rest Most people tend to keep going because it is just a bruise, but this can make it worse. Consider resting the foot. If getting off your feet is impossible, you can immobilize the foot to guarantee that you get off it.Ice You may ice the area for 10–15 minutes at a time to relieve pain. Ice can prevent swelling or control inflammation that may worsen the pain. Medication Try using over-the-counter foot pain relievers or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) to reduce pain and inflammation.Lifestyle modifications If you like to walk around barefoot, you may want to avoid doing that while your bruise heals. Also, you may need to lose weight to reduce the impact of your body weight on the foot as you move around if you’re overweight. Proper footwear There is an ideal kind of footwear for every type of sport. Ensure what you’re wearing fits in with the activity or sport you’re participating in. For example, running shoes have more cushioning than basketball shoes that are designed to be used on wooden courts. If you’re not a sportsman, you can aim for footwear that will reduce the pressure on your footpad while the bruise heals. Go for shoes with soft, cushioned soles and a metatarsal pad. These methods are expected to reduce your symptoms quickly. However, please consult a doctor as soon as possible if these symptoms persist. The doctor will consider your symptoms and perform investigations to rule out similar conditions. The doctor will then make a proper diagnosis and recommend appropriate treatment methods.
Foot painAre Crocs Good or Bad for Your Feet?Everyone likes comfort, which is exactly why Crocs easily caught on as more people started to work from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. Forbes estimates that since its establishment in 2007, the company has sold up to 600 million pairs of shoes worldwide. This isn’t at all surprising. Crocs provide a perfect alternative for people that would otherwise have gone barefoot on the beach, pool area, and in the yard. Beyond this, Crocs have become popular among different classes of people warranting use to even malls and supermarkets. It gets one wondering, how is it that Crocs are so popular? What Should a Good Shoe Do for Your Feet? There are four primary factors to consider when you’re trying to decide what a good shoe for your foot will be. They are; Comfort A good shoe should feel comfortable on your feet from your first wear.Support Your shoe should hold your feet in position and maintain the alignment of your foot as you walk. A god shoe should also support your foot arch.Fit Of course, your shoes should not be too tight (small) or too big for your foot. It must fit appropriately based on your foot length and size, giving your toes a little room to wiggle around.Cushioning Through the midsole, a good shoe provides a cushion for the feet. It also ensures efficient transfer of force through the foot. If you find a shoe that conveniently ticks all the boxes, that’s a shoe you want on your rack. Which Shoes Should You Wear? Wearing the right shoes is necessary if you’re going to remain comfortable and avoid injury. Even after ticking all the boxes of comfort, support, fit, and cushion, the kind of shoe you should pick will depend on your preferred activity. Sport Shoes There are shoes for everyday life, and there are also shoes for sporting activities. Your choice of sporting shoe will depend on the kind of sports you like to perform. For example: Hiking shoes have deep lugs and raised heel soles to provide secure footing and reduce the chances of sliding when hiking on steep slopes.Soccer boots have studs to improve traction.Basketball shoes have a herringbone pattern in the sole that improves stability and traction. You may need to seek an expert opinion from a podiatrist to determine the best type of shoe for your sporting activities. Everyday Walking Shoes Whether you take walks to stay fit or just stand for a long time daily, your shoes should provide proper cushioning and support to prevent soreness and limit fatigue. Generally, walking shoes should be lightweight, flexible, and have no flared heels. Crocs may be good footwear, but they aren’t designed to cope with walking or sporting activities for extended periods. As such, you should consider getting proper footwear if that is your intention. The Problem with Wearing Crocs All Day Crocs make for excellent footwear because they are lightweight, comfortable, and easy to slip into and out of. They are also breathable, promote circulation, and have enough room to avoid compression of the toes. Unfortunately, they are not ideal for everyday wear or long periods. Crocs were originally designed as waterproof boating shoes with non-slip soles and foamy material. By design, they are an excellent choice for the beach, pool, or waterpark and are ideal for short-term usage. However, people now wear Crocs everywhere; sometimes wearing them for the whole day, and even at hospitals, playgrounds, and malls. When Crocs aren’t used as they were designed for, they place additional strain on the sole and the heel pad. Inadequate support would mean that the toes need to grip, leading to tendonitis or worsening any preexisting issues. You may also develop issues such as corns and calluses or other toe deformities. Ideal Time for Wearing Crocs Despite the wrong use of Crocs, they still help to eliminate plantar pain and any arch issues. This casual footwear does this by supporting the arch and cushioning the heels. Additionally, they also prevent compression of the toes by allowing room to move when you’re walking. Without any doubt, Crocs will help you relieve any foot pain and are ideal for short-term usage. However, if you wear it for an extended period, Crocs can create more foot issues that can otherwise be avoided.
Foot painGrierson-Gopalan Syndrome (Burning Feet)—Symptoms, Causes & TreatmentsBurning feet syndrome can be quite painful and agitating, which is why we’ve decided to provide information on possible causes, symptoms, how the condition is diagnosed, and different treatment options to help you quickly get back on your feet. What Is Grierson-Gopalan Syndrome (Burning Feet Syndrome)? Grierson-Gopalan syndrome, more commonly known as burning feet syndrome, is a medical condition that causes severe aching and burning sensations in the feet. This sensation is often worse at night and restricted to the soles of the feet. Sometimes, however, it can spread to the top of the feet, ankles, and lower leg. It can also affect the eyes and cause scotoma and amblyopia » Need insoles for Grierson-Gopalan syndrome? Check out our picks of the best insoles for burning feet syndrome Symptoms of Burning Feet Syndrome The most common symptoms of Grierson-Gopalan syndrome include: Severe aching and burning sensation in the feet, often worsening at nightFeet numbness and heavinessRedness of the skinSharp or stabbing painPrickling or tingling sensationHypersensitivityVasomotor changes that can lead to excessive sweating Grierson-Gopalan Syndrome Diagnosis Before making a diagnosis of burning feet syndrome, the doctor will ask about the history of your symptoms. This will help determine the course of the symptoms' progressions and their severity. A physical examination will also be conducted on the feet to identify any observable changes, after which a blood test will be ordered to screen for nutritional deficiencies and endocrinal disorders. You might also be asked to take a nerve function test if nerve damage is suspected. Causes of Burning Feet Syndrome There are many different conditions that can cause burning feet syndrome. For the sake of convenience, we have grouped the causes into the following categories: Metabolic disorders An underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) or a case of type 1 and 2 diabetes can cause a burning sensation in the feet.Infections With a fungal infection like athlete's foot, the person may develop several symptoms including itching, stinging, and burning of feet.Nutritional deficiency A deficiency of vitamins B5, B-12, and E can cause a sensation of burning feet.Nerve damage When nerve damage occurs either due to illness, trauma, surgery, toxins, or chemotherapy drugs, it can result in conditions like Charcot-Marie-Tooth, complex pain regional syndrome (CRPS), Morton’s neuroma, peripheral neuropathy, and tarsal tunnel syndrome to name a few. All of these named conditions are associated with burning feet syndrome.Stress Any physical activity exercise that requires prolonged standing on the feet can cause stress and associated burning and numbness.Improper footwear Ill-fitting or tight-fitting shoes when worn against sensitive feet will cause more pressure to be exerted on some areas of the foot and can cause a burning sensation.Other conditions Several other conditions like allergies, contact dermatitis, erythromelalgia, and multiple sclerosis, can also present with burning feet syndrome. » Learn more about the causes of burning feet Treatment for Grierson-Gopalan Syndrome When it comes to the treatment for burning feet syndrome, there are some alternatives along with the prescribed medication that can help alleviate the symptoms. Using custom orthotics has proven to be effective in the management of burning feet syndrome, as these will cushion the feet, relieving pressure and any pain that the syndrome may be causing. Once you have your foot impression from your podiatrist, you can register on Upstep to have a custom orthotic made for a fee and then shipped to your location without any compromise of quality. We recommend Burning Feet Syndrome Custom Orthotics, designed to cushion the painful areas while reducing the underlying causes at the same time. ProsCustom madeAddresses your foot needs directly180-day money-back guaranteeFSA and HSA eligibleFree shipping and returnsConsShort waiting period before receiving orthotics Upstep custom-made orthotics are made from durable materials and are specifically designed to fit your lifestyle while reducing the pain caused by burning feet syndrome. What Medications Are Prescribed for the Treatment of Burning Feet? In addition, you may also need to use different types of medications ranging from nutritional supplements to insulin to analgesics (pain meds), antidepressants, and antifungal drugs. You can also book an appointment to see a physiotherapist who will prescribe some helpful exercises. Should the condition worsen, or fail to improve even with conservative treatment, you may need to visit a doctor or a podiatrist, who will have you examined carefully to determine the cause and more appropriate method of treatment. Commonly prescribed medications for burning feet are: AmitriptylineCarbamazepine (Tegretol)Desipramine (Norpramin)Duloxetine (Cymbalta)Gabapentin (Neurontin) Home Remedies for Burning Feet Syndrome Burning feet syndrome treatment can also be carried out at home with some alternative remedies that may help relieve the symptoms, however, this is dependent on the exact cause. The best is to avoid exposing your feet to extreme temperatures (cold or heat). Instead, you can consider soaking your feet in warm water periodically for up to 15 minutes at a time. » Check out these effective home remedies for burning feet syndrome Can Burning Feet Syndrome Be Prevented? While it may be impossible to prevent burning feet syndrome as the potential causes are many, you can prevent it from getting worse. Taking good care of your feet and wearing properly fitted shoes is a good place to start, as well as ensuring that you always wear clean and dry socks to minimize the chance of infections.
Foot painPossible Causes for Forefoot Pain: Metatarsalgia, Sesamoiditis, and MoreIdentifying the true cause of forefoot pain is difficult due to the complexity of the structures in the region. Areas of the foot are divided into the forefoot, midfoot, and hindfoot. The forefoot is the third of your foot closest to your toes, consisting of ligaments, tendons, blood vessels, and nerves that supply function to the toes. Pain is most commonly reported in the metatarsal bones and the phalanges, which also fall under the forefoot area. Due to the complexity of the structures in this area, many people experience forefoot pain daily. This article explores the common causes of forefoot pain and their diagnoses. Symptoms and Diagnosis of Metatarsalgia Metatarsalgia is a condition that affects the foot through prolonged abnormal loading of the lateral forefoot (outside of the foot), causing pain and inflammation. The condition is usually not serious, and adaptations can be made to remedy the symptoms, preventing future flare-ups. Structural abnormalities are part of the primary classification of metatarsalgia, whereas system conditions altering foot anatomy and loading characteristics fall under the secondary classification of metatarsalgia. The diagnosis is usually made clinically, with remarkable pain and inflammation felt around the forefoot area. The foot is observed and palpated in sitting and standing positions in an attempt to determine the cause of the pain. The medical practitioner may require further diagnostic testing to rule out a stress fracture or other conditions. Symptoms and Diagnosis of Sesamoiditis Sesamoiditis arises when the sesamoid bones and the structures around them (tendons and soft tissue) in the forefoot area become inflamed and painful. Strenuous weight-bearing activities on the forefoot will contribute to pain and inflammation, commonly seen in runners, dancers, or athletes. Pain usually develops gradually with less noticeable swelling. A diagnosis is made by a medical practitioner after an examination of the sesamoid bones through touch and movement tests. The medical practitioner is looking for the reproduction of pain symptoms experienced by the patient to determine if the sesamoid bones are the source of the symptoms. An X-ray may be conducted to assess associated structures in the foot for stress fractures or other conditions. Only then can your doctor prescribe suitable sesamoiditis treatments. » Check out the best sesamoiditis orthotics Symptoms and Diagnosis of Morton’s Neuroma Morton’s neuroma is another condition that may cause pain in your forefoot. Pain is attributed to thickening of the nerve, usually between the 3rd and 4th toes, more commonly seen in women. A burning pain sensation is often reported after excessive loading or pressure has been applied to the foot. Numbness can also arise in the affected toes. Compression of the nerve through weight-bearing and also from the sides of the foot will lead to the onset of burning pain. Standing on the forefoot (high heels) or wearing narrow shoes will also prove to increase levels of pain. » Struggling to identify Morton's neuroma from metatarsalgia? Read Metatarsalgia vs. Morton’s Neuroma: How to Tell the Difference Other Causes of Forefoot Pain Bunions (hallux valgus) and arthritis of the big toe (hallux rigidus) cause the majority of the force to be transferred through the smaller toes, causing inflammation and pain in the forefoot. Systemic conditions such as Rheumatoid arthritis, gout, or Lupus could be a possible reason for the pain. Managing these conditions effectively will require the help of a medical practitioner, who may use medication as a treatment method. Plantar plate tears are also common causes of forefoot pain, usually associated with high load activity. Characterized by pain in the area immediately behind the toes and potentially a change in toe position as the tear progresses. Firstly, a sharp pain is commonly reported, which changes to a dull pain thereafter. If left untreated, pain increases, followed by deformity or arthritis. Ruling out the presence of a stress fracture is important. If excessive pain levels are felt, contact a medical practitioner who can assist you with further examination regarding a possible stress fracture. How to Identify the Cause of Your Forefoot Pain Looking for obvious signs of physical issues or abnormalities as a possible cause of your pain is a good first step. Use your thumb to examine the underside of your foot, identifying the potential structures causing pain, bearing in mind the different conditions leading to forefoot pain. Knowledge of system conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and gout is extremely helpful. If systemic conditions are thought to be present, consult with a medical professional for a management plan to prevent continual complications and abnormalities from arising.
Foot painHeel Spur vs. Plantar Fasciitis: Differences, Causes, and TreatmentsThere are a thousand and one conditions that cause foot pain, many of which have similar symptoms, such as restricted movement. Consequently, these conditions often reduce the quality of life of the individual. Foot conditions must be managed appropriately to prevent them from worsening. Thus, it is important to correctly diagnose the cause of the symptoms and then choose a suitable treatment approach based on that. Two common and similarly presenting foot conditions are plantar fasciitis and heel spurs. This guide shows their relation, differences, and how to treat them properly. What Is Plantar Fasciitis? Plantar fasciitis is the inflammation of the plantar fascia, the band of ligament that runs under the foot from the heel to the toes. When the ligament is inflamed, it causes sharp pain near the heel after a period of rest, discomfort when stretching the foot, and increased pain after activity. What Is a Heel Spur? A heel spur is a bony spur due to calcium deposits on the heel bone. While they are often painless, they can also cause significant heel pain. According to the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), 1 in 10 people has a heel spur, while only 1 in 20 individuals with heel spurs experience pain. When heel spurs do cause pain, it is usually an intermittent and stabbing pain that is worse in the morning. Can You Have Heel Spurs Without Plantar Fasciitis? Heel spurs are the products of repeated trauma and damage to the foot muscles and heel ligaments. As a result, they can occur even without plantar fasciitis, and plantar fasciitis can also occur without heel spurs. However, plantar fasciitis is often a secondary cause of heel spurs. Thus it is common to find that people with heel spurs also have plantar fasciitis. Similarities and Differences Between Heel Spurs and Plantar Fasciitis Perhaps the most significant difference between the two is that heel spurs may not cause pain, while plantar fasciitis usually always will. Additionally, the location of the pain is different. While pain from plantar fasciitis is typically present in the foot arch and the heel, pain due to heel spurs is localized to the heel bone. Also, while plantar fasciitis causes a sharp and burning sensation, heel spurs cause a stabbing pain. Despite these differences, heel spurs and plantar fasciitis do present with a few similar symptoms, such as: RednessSwellingTendernessInflammation They may also lead to pain and severe gait problems if left untreated. Similar Risk Factors for Heel Spurs and Plantar Fasciitis The same risk factors predisposing you to plantar fasciitis also increase your risk of developing heel spurs. Some of the factors which increase the chances of developing either plantar fasciitis or heel spurs are as follows: Tight calf muscles This places the strain on the heel and puts the plantar fascia under perpetual tension.Obesity or overweight The more an individual's weight, the more stress the foot has to bear and the higher chance of developing heel spurs or plantar fasciitis.Improper shoes Worn-out shoes, shoes without adequate support, and ill-fitting shoes can cause heel spurs and plantar fasciitis.Foot dynamics The presence of either flat feet or high arches can put more stress on different parts of your foot.Abnormal gait patternProlonged or sudden strain Prolonged repetitive activities requiring you to stand on your feet for a long time daily, or high-impact sporting activities like running, jumping, and hiking can all increase your chances of developing these conditions, as well as sudden changes in your physical activity levels without adjustment. Can You Treat Heel Spurs and Plantar Fasciitis? Once a diagnosis of heel spur or plantar fasciitis is made, it is best to ensure prompt treatment. Without that, the bony spurs will eat into the fat pads of the legs and, with plantar fasciitis, cause foot complications. These complications can further cause chronic ankle, knee, hip, and lower back pain. Treatment of these conditions will usually involve the following methods: Rest and ice Rest and ice deal directly with the pain and inflammation but do not address the cause.Proper shoes Ensure you use shoes that fit properly, provide adequate comfort, and are suitable for the kind of activities you often perform.Exercises A combination of stretches and foot stabilizing and strengthening exercises can be incorporated when treating plantar fasciitis and heel spurs.Orthotic inserts Orthotic inserts are designed to provide more cushion to the heel and reduce the strain placed on the plantar fascia. You can purchase affordable and customized orthotic inserts from our online store. Surgery Surgical intervention is considered a last resort when pain persists without improvement for up to six months. It involves either the removal of a heel spur or the release of the plantar fascia. » Ready to speed up your plantar fasciitis recovery? Get yourself a pair of custom orthotics and read our expert review
Foot painDo High-Top Basketball Shoes Help Reduce the Risk of Injury?The research shows that high-top basketball shoes reduce ankle inversion (roll) when performing the basketball-specific movement. However, it did not link the wearing of this footwear and the prevention of ankle sprains. What Does the Research Say? The research only uses six athletes as participants and, therefore, we have to be careful in drawing too large a conclusion from their findings. However, the study did find that the high-top basketball shoes did reduce the amount of ankle inversion when compared to the low-cut equivalent shoe. This should make sense to anyone who has ever worn a high-top boot as it makes your ankle feel more supported and stable. We know that this particular measure of ankle movement in a shoe is not related to the incidence of ankle inversion sprain injuries when playing basketball. » Read more about the benefits of orthotics for basketball shoes So, Why Do We Feel More Supported in These Shoes? Our body can ‘sense’ where it is using a mechanism called proprioception. This generalized system involves a combination of factors that allows the body to know how it is working in relation to its surroundings. A system more specific to the ankle works via mechanoreceptors. These specialized sensory receptors are located in skin and hair and give extremely detailed information about forces and location back to the brain. Due to their location in the skin, they are directly affected by external stimuli such as shoes. High-top boots act on the mechanoreceptors around the ankle to allow extra information about the foot, especially abnormal movement such as excessive ankle inversion, to be reported and then acted upon by the brain via muscle coordination. » Need extra support for your basketball shoes? Opt for the best inserts to prevent pronation
Foot painTailor’s Bunion: Causes, Symptoms, and TreatmentA tailor's bunion, also called a bunionette, is a growth on the outside of the foot at the base of the last 5th metatarsal bone (pinky toe). A tailor's bunion looks like a swollen, hard bump on the outer portion of the little toe. Symptoms of Tailor’s Bunion A tailor's bunion feels like a painful, red area with swelling at the site of the enlargement.The presence of callous or corn (smaller type of callous) on or near the bunion due to the effect of friction on the skin.Possibility of infection due to the presence of broken skin around the bony lump. Causes of Tailor’s Bunion There are several causes for the formation of a bunion on the side of the pinky toe: Tight shoes that constrict the feet.Weight gain.Structural problems with the feet.Wearing high heels that put strain on the feet.Poor foot function.Large head of the 5th metatarsal bone.Abnormally shaped little toes.Loose ligaments.Supinated foot. Can You Correct Tailor’s Bunion Without Surgery? There are several ways to get rid of bunions on the pinky toe without surgery. The best way to slow the progression of a tailor's bunion and help it shrink naturally is by following a conservative treatment during the early stages. A few steps you can follow at home are: Maintaining a healthy body weight.Wearing proper-fitting shoes that are wider near the toes.Using shoe inserts to help position the foot correctly.Using ice packs, warm socks, and massage.Using custom-made orthotics for bunions.Using bunionette pads and cushions.Wearing bunion splints (also known as bunionette toe spacers) at night may help alleviate pain. Exercises for Tailor's Bunion Exercises for bunionette pain are effective as a preventive and curative measure. They help in keeping the feet healthy and hopefully free from surgery by improving blood circulation, movement, and flexibility of the muscles and joints of the foot and toes. All the below exercises can be carried out as a home treatment for bunionettes: Toe spread outsToes circlesMarble pickupHeel raisesAnkle toe pumpsBarefoot beach walkingSelf-massageTowel grip and pull exerciseIce massage with a frozen bottleToe squeezes » Ease bunion pain with the best exercises for tailor’s bunion How Do You Keep Your Bunionettes From Getting Worse? The best way to keep your tailor's bunion from getting worse is by wearing proper shoes with a wide toe box. Additionally, exercising the feet and your toes three times every day will play a key role in preventing the bunionettes from worsening and avoiding the need for surgery. Following your healthcare practitioner's advice, the do’s and don’ts, maintaining a healthy weight, and wearing a custom orthotic inside a well-fitted shoe will assure that your bunionettes don't get worse. » Interested in custom orthotics? Browse our online store and get yourself a pair. Is Tailor’s Bunion Surgery Worth It? Sometimes, in the case of a chronic tailor's bunion that is causing excessive pain, surgery is the only option. Though you are still able to receive surgery in less severe cases, you'll have to weigh up the pros and cons to decide if it's going to be worth it. Bunionette surgery itself is not painful since the patient is under the effect of general anaesthetic. However, it may take about 4-6 months to recover from tailor's bunion surgery. Depending upon the nature of your job (whether sedentary or physical), the surgeon will make recommendations as to when you are allowed back on your feet. Generally speaking, walking can be started 0-6 weeks post-op in a hospital shoe with full weight-bearing on your legs. Post six weeks you may be able to fully bear weight on your affected foot and walk in your regular shoes. Additionally, another factor to weigh up when deciding if surgery is worth it is cost. Not everyone has insurance that will cover this type of procedure, and so the best way to find out is by getting in contact with your insurance company and hospital. When Does a Tailor’s Bunion Need Surgery? Needing surgery for tailor's bunion is multifactorial. If there is the presence of symptoms such as severe foot pain, swelling, and redness with no reduction in them after implementing conservative treatment options, then you may need surgical excision of the bunion. Consult a podiatrist or GP if you are unsure of the severity of your situation.