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:
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.
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.
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 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.
» Seeking some much-needed relief? Purchase the best insoles for burning feet.
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.
OrthoticsHow to Find the Best Insoles for SneakersA large portion of the pain and discomfort that arises in the feet is a result of our shoe choices or lack thereof. Sneakers often have unsupportive insoles and if worn for long periods, can cause pain and discomfort in the feet. People suffering from conditions such as bunions, heel pain, or flat feet are at high risk of developing pain and discomfort while wearing sneakers.
Sneakers often do not have an adequate supportive sole as they are more focused on style than support. Sneakers are designed for people to wear for short periods and may not support the fatiguing muscles of the foot as you go about your day. Not only does improper footwear affect the foot but the rest of the body as well. The ankles, knees, hips, and lower back end up taking strain from wearing worn-down shoes, due to the alterations in normal biomechanics of the feet and legs. An effort to look after your feet can have a vastly greater effect on the body than we often realize.
Disadvantages of Sneakers for Your Feet
Often with sneakers initially they fit the foot snugly and often don’t accommodate the swelling that occurs in the feet naturally after a certain time of walking or standing. The swelling creates pressure areas between the foot and the shoe. When purchasing sneakers, allow for some space for the foot to swell throughout the day. Wearing sneakers that are too small leads to increased pressure being placed onto the toes and heel, potentially leading to pain or other complications.
Sneakers often don’t come with durable insoles and that is why they wear down quickly through continuous use. Worn-down insoles or shoes can lead to biomechanical issues in the joints above the ankle. As a result, you may experience ankle pain when you walk. Long-term use of sneakers with poor insoles can lead to a host of complications arising in the foot.
Sneakers may not be a great option if you already have conditions affecting the feet, such as bunions and flat feet. Sneaker insoles aren’t designed to support this and may lead your conditions to get progressively worse as you wear the sneakers. Additions of insoles can be made to support and reduce strain on the feet. For instance, people with bunions would strictly need to get insoles for bunions and not normal insoles.
Benefits of Using Insoles in Sneakers
The addition of insoles into your shoes is a cost-effective way to improve your overall comfort while wearing the sneakers, especially over an extended period. Insoles improve comfort by adding cushioning to the underside of the foot and support to the arch of the foot within the shoe. Muscle fatigue in the muscles of the foot has been reported to be less as a result of using insoles in one’s sneakers.
If you have flat feet or other conditions that affect your feet, these can be accommodated to not aggravate those conditions further. Doing so will greatly improve your overall comfort while wearing your overall comfort through constant arch support within the shoe.
Features of Good Insoles for Sneakers
For maximum comfort in your sneakers, custom insoles can be tailor-made to suit your specific foot structure and will provide support where it is needed. It is important that the insoles that you purchase fit well within the shoe. A larger orthotic that doesn’t fit well within the shoe can cause discomfort and pain.
A thinner orthotic is usually advised as sneakers may not have enough height within the shoe to accommodate a thicker orthotic and the foot. The same level of comfort is achieved from a thinner orthotic because you are not placing high levels of force through the foot, as seen in running or jumping activities. Try the insoles in your sneakers to ensure that they fit properly within the shoe. Check if there is enough space between the top of the foot and the laces of your shoe.
Best Insoles for Sneakers
Choosing the best insoles for sneakers may seem like a daunting task, but it is fairly easy. Because of the materials that sneakers are made of, the insoles should be made from durable materials. This is to maintain their integrity and structure for more than 4 hours. Upstep has a range of custom orthotics to suit your everyday needs. Custom orthotics from Upstep can provide you with the necessary support, maximum comfort, and accommodations you need to have throughout the day.
Comfort is paramount when looking for the right insoles for your sneakers. Make sure that the insoles fit the shoe correctly and do not slide within the shoe. If you have preexisting conditions like burning feet, insoles for burning feet will be the best insoles for you. OrthoticsBest Insoles for Nurses to Relieve FatigueThe shoe nurses wear daily to complete a long shift on the feet are often not supportive nor comfortable when worn for a lengthy period. Nurses need orthotics to support their feet due to fatigue developing in the feet throughout a lengthy shift, and often with very little time to rest. Nurses report that pain and discomfort are common complaints and often related to poor shoe choice.
Nurses spend often up to an excess of 12 hours on their feet during a single shift, causing a fair amount of daily strain. In some hospital settings around the world, some nurses are unable to make a choice on shoes that best suits their specific needs. In other settings, nurses have a bit more freedom regarding shoe choice to meet their specific needs.
Benefits of Insoles for Nurses
Insoles inserted into your shoes will greatly benefit your feet by supporting the arches during the day. The benefits of arch supports are that they prevent the arches from dropping as the muscles of the foot fatigue and pronation from occurring in the ankle complex. This can lead to a variety of complications if not addressed in severe cases. This is why it is important to know what is going on with your feet so that you know if you'll need arch support or not. Comfort
Insoles can be extremely helpful in improving your overall experience of comfort throughout the day. Insoles play a role in redistributing the weight evenly throughout the sole, while also providing a cushioned, shock-absorbing surface to protect the foot from shock when striking the ground while stepping and walking. Bunion prevention
Unnatural weight translation over the inner surface of the forefoot can be limited, which puts strain on the base of the big toe eventually leading to misalignment of the big toe and pain. Heel support
The additional cushioning from the insoles can be extremely helpful in preventing heel pain by reducing the shock placed through the structures around the heel. These can be inserted into the shoe to protect the heel daily. Plantar fasciitis
Orthotics can prevent inflammation in the sole associated with plantar fasciitis from developing, especially in shoes that have a raised heel. Orthotics and a change in footwear help manage this condition.
Features of Great Insoles for Nurses
When looking for insoles to best suit your daily needs, finding an orthotic that accommodates your specific needs using custom orthotics is recommended. Fortunately, there are different types of orthotics available in the market. It is important to determine what your main complaint is regarding your feet throughout the day. Is it a marked big toe shift towards the inside as seen in bunions potentially with pain or am I experiencing pain around the heel? Do I need metatarsal support or another form of orthotic? These can all be managed effectively using custom orthotics in a relatively cost-effective way. Try to choose an orthotic insole that best suits your needs.
The orthotics should correctly fit within your shoes. Orthotics that are too big could cause discomfort in the foot as the edges might curl up against the side of the foot. Orthotics that are too small might not support the entire foot, with the toes pointing over the edge of the orthotics. If the orthotics are too small they may tend to slide within the shoe while walking.
Best Insoles for Nurses
A strong, durable, everyday orthotic is a great choice for people wearing the same shoes for extended periods, as some nurses may do. Some may prefer memory foam insoles, and others gel insoles. Upstep has a range of custom orthotics to best meet your orthotics needs. Custom orthotics from Upstep are cast in the comfort of your own home and have a 120-day money-back guarantee. OrthoticsBest Insoles for People on Their Feet All DayInsoles refer to the foot bed on which the foot rests when wearing footwear. While they are often removable, sometimes they are glued into the footwear. Regardless, insoles help improve the fit, comfort, and warmth a shoe provides. When they are removable, they also help to keep the shoe fresh. Invariably, insoles are not just to treat foot problems but also to prevent them.
Different people need different types of insoles, and choosing the best insoles can be tricky. The type of insole you need depends on the kind of activities you perform. Insoles take on added importance in people that stand all day. As a result of prolonged standing, the knee and feet have to bear more stress than the average person. Over time, this can cause knee pain, ankle pain, heel pain, and many other symptoms. Using the right insoles can prevent these symptoms before they ever occur.
How Inserts Assist With Being on Your Feet All Day
Inserts play a significant role in the foot health of people who stand on their feet all day. All-day custom orthotics can prevent pain symptoms by cushioning the feet and making your footwear more comfortable. With the different types of orthotics available in the market, one should be able to find the right ones. Insoles also provide additional support and cushioning. Consequently, standing is more comfortable, shock absorption increases, muscle fatigue reduces, and your energy is preserved.
Knowing Which Insoles to Choose
There are different types of insoles in the market, they in different sizes and designs. Often people don't know how to choose insoles that are meant for their foot conditions. When choosing an insole, you should pay attention to the following:
Insole size and fit
For insoles to be effective, they must fit well with your foot shape and your shoes. At all times, ensure you choose a properly-sized insole. Often, over-the-counter insoles come with a range so you can trim them to size. Alternatively, you can opt for custom insoles.Foot arch type
It matters whether your foot arches are high, low, or medium because insoles will take up different volumes of space in footwear. When you fail to consider the foot arch, you can end up with an insole that causes pain. High-volume insoles are best with high arches and high-impact activities. Medium-volume insoles work well with different arch profiles. Low-volume insoles work best for low arches. It is advisable to know the type of arch supports your feet need.Shoes and activities
Different shoes come with different designs matching the kind of activities they are intended for. When paired with the appropriate insoles in terms of cushioning, size, and support, the effect is greater. Thus, it’s important that before you choose an insole, you consider which shoes you’ll be using it with. For example, someone who has to stand all day will require a greater degree of cushioning and support than someone who walks a few miles daily.Quality of insole materials
You also need to consider the materials from which the insoles are manufactured. Insoles can be made from foam, gel, plastic, leather, wool, EVA, etc. Different materials each have varying advantages, so there is no one-size-fits-all. For example, while gel insoles provide great cushioning, plastic insoles may be better if the need is support. So, go for the quality that best suits your need.Existing foot condition
For example, if you have foot problems like Sesamoiditis, you should consider choosing an insole that both addresses the foot problem and makes standing more comfortable.
How Long Do Insoles Last?
The longevity and lifespan of an insole depend on the quality of design materials, the kind of activities performed with it, proper care, and the frequency of usage. You can expect the average insoles to last between six and twelve months.
Nevertheless, it is time to replace your insoles if they begin to smell, lose their color, become overtly compressed, or are damaged. Our post on cleaning insoles will guide you on how you can take care of your insoles.
Which Insoles Should You Choose if You Stand All Day?
If your work requires you to stand all day, then you must be deliberate about the kind of insole you choose. The best insoles for standing all day have the following features:
Provides additional heel cushioning (deep heel cup) to increase comfort and shock absorption. The ball of your feet will also enjoy extra padding for their protection.Maximum support for the foot arch because the base layer of the insole molds perfectly with your foot shape. Top cover and cushioning mid-layers are also necessary.Temperweave and breathable material to limit moisture and reduce odor.Special features to allow relief from different kinds of foot pain.
Upstep On My Feet All Day insoles tick all these boxes, making them an ideal solution for people who need to stand all day. OrthoticsBest Insoles for Running ShoesHeel pain after running is a commonly reported condition by many runners globally, with some reporting a cessation of running activities altogether. Foot pain is caused by conditions arising as a result of repetitive striking on the ground during daily and running activities, or due to muscle fatigue in the feet.
Running insoles are a supplemental form of support and cushioning for your feet as you compete in sporting activities. Normal orthotics used in daily work or leisure activities may not provide the same comfort and relief in your running shoes as they might be more rigid and less absorptive to shock. Acquiring orthotics, especially for running, will provide you with maximal comfort and support for the duration of exercise. Insoles can help alleviate the pain from preexisting conditions that you may already have, giving support to your feet to keep a condition from getting worse, or even from occurring altogether. Flat feet and bunions can be managed effectively using insoles for flat feet, as well as a combination of foot exercises and stretching.
Benefits of Wearing Insoles When Running
New running shoes usually have adequate foot support and cushioning, but as their lifespan decreases these materials may not provide sufficient shock absorption to your feet and lower legs while running. Be sure to find a shoe that matches the arch height of your foot. The benefits of arch supports are that they help support the arches of your feet, as well as reduce pain and pressure. Are you pronating when standing or is the foot in supination?
Orthotics can be used as a cost-effective and safe way to further pad and support your feet in your running shoes. The best for running insoles can provide a great deal of comfort and support to your feet as you go about your sporting activities, provided they are not worn down or old. The increased support and cushioning aid in relieving pressure areas in the foot, while redistributing the weight throughout the entirety of the foot. The muscles of the foot and lower leg are less likely to fatigue as quickly during running activities with the additional support from running orthotics. This means that you’ll be able to run further in the absence of muscle fatigue, as well as reduce the risk of developing strains or sprains in the foot and lower leg.
Orthotics pay dividends when used in running shoes that are old or worn down. The insoles are worn down, with cushioning support losing its integrity in places. Additional support from custom orthotics further aids in shock absorption while running, thus reducing pain associated with conditions like heel spurs and shin splints. Orthotics further prolong the lifespan of your running shoes and your body.
Features of Great Insoles for Running Shoes
When choosing the best insoles to support your feet in your running shoes, looking for maximum comfort for the shape of your foot is important. Acquiring a running orthotic to support the arch an adequate amount, according to the shape of your foot is also extremely helpful. Some orthotics are designed for people with excessive pronation, while others are designed for those who have plantar fasciitis, flat feet, or just want more cushioning and support in their running shoes. If you have other conditions affecting your feet, it is also helpful to factor that into your decision when purchasing orthotics.
Depending on the amount of daily use you put your custom orthotics through, they should last between nine months and a year of use. If the orthotics are starting to get worn down, damaged, or are too small; it is advised that you seek out new orthotics for your running. The same applies to orthotics causing aggravation/flare-ups of conditions or pain that you may be experiencing.
Best Insoles for Running Shoes
Upstep sells orthotics specifically for running, alongside a range of sports orthotics. Upstep’s orthotics have a detailed design to ensure running is made as comfortable as possible for your feet. The material used to make the orthotics is high quality and durable for use daily while limiting any pain arising in your feet.
These custom-made orthotics are made from the imprints of your own feet and can be done in the convenience of your own home. The casts are sent off by courier and will arrive back at you after completion of manufacturing. Upstep gives you a 120-day money-back guarantee on custom orthotics. BunionsCorns vs. Bunions: Similarities and DifferencesThe common thing about corns and bunions is how both the conditions' symptoms are the same, and often thought to be the same thing. However, these two conditions are different, requiring different approaches in conservative and medical management strategies.
Corns are associated with thickening of the skin, often due to repetitive rubbing and pressure placed on the skin on the underside or top of the foot. Bunions are characterized by a noticeable alignment shift of the big toe outwards towards the smaller toes of the foot. Pain is often experienced at the site of the inwardly bent big toe joint, commonly associated with the progression of the condition. Bunions present with a visible bump around the joint, at the base of the big toe. Bunions are caused by genetic inheritance, ligament laxity, flat feet, and abnormal foot structure.
What Are Corns?
Corns are thickened layers of hard skin that arise as a result of the body trying to protect itself from regular friction and rubbing. The skin may become dry or flaky as a result of corn formation in an area. Pain or tenderness is a common symptom when applying pressure directly onto a corn or callus.
The symptoms of corns include:
Thickened, hardened skin under high-pressure areas.Change of skin color in the callused skin.Tenderness under a touch.
What Are Bunions?
A bunion or hallux valgus is a marked inward turn of the big toe towards the other toes, with a bony bump on the inner side of the foot. Pain and inflammation are some early signs of bunions that can occur on the side of the bone bump as the condition gets progressively worse, without effective conservative management strategies. Bunions can be caused by altered mechanics of the foot seen in conditions like flat feet, and can also be caused by tight shoes that crowd the toes while wearing them.
The symptoms of bunions include:
Visible change of direction of the big toes towards the smaller toes.Pain and soreness around the bony bump around the big toe joint.Joint stiffness.Redness or minor swelling around the joint deformity.Difficulty walking.Callus formation, usually around the underside of the big toe.
Take a look at our post on how you can prevent bunions from worsening.
Corns vs. Bunions: What Are the Similarities?
The similarities between the two conditions are the noticeable thickening of the skin around the areas of most friction between the foot and shoe. The skin thickens around the area of the bunion, and the skin thickens around the pressure area in corns. Both conditions usually arise and progress slowly over time and are often linked to tight-fitting shoes with a narrow toe box. Both conditions are made worse by activity and can produce pain in severe cases. These conditions in severe cases can be managed with surgical intervention. Due to these conditions, they may also be a need for arch support insoles. Wearing arch supports has been proven to be beneficial to people with these conditions.
Corns vs. Bunions: What Are the Differences?
The major difference between the two conditions is that bunion development affects the bone structure and alignment in the foot, while the other is associated with thickening of the skin and no alterations to the bone structure of the foot. Corns usually present as the body’s reaction to friction in an area to prevent blister formation and are not known as an inheritable trait. Bunions can be inherited as a genetic trait, however, and can be caused by factors such as ligament laxity and flat feet, amongst others. The treatment for the two conditions varies between the conditions, as seen below.
Treatment for Corns and Bunions
Treatment for corns or calluses involves removing the hard skin by a trained medical professional or podiatrist. Any underlying reasons for corn development can also be ruled out by the doctor during this process. You can enquire with the doctor about how to prevent further corn formation.
Treatment for bunions makes use of orthotic devices or inserts (such as bunion pads) to correct and support the foot through weight-bearing activities, preventing the progression of the condition. Orthotics for bunions aim to redistribute the weight through the entirety of the foot, reducing the weight translated through the forefoot while walking or running. Though it is not completely possible to fix bunions without surgery, there are conservative approaches that help reduce pain and swelling. Toe separators can also be used to maintain the alignment of the big toe during these activities, and are a cost-effective way to manage bunions safely.
For both conditions, if a reduction in daily mobility is seen due to pain or stiffness in the foot, it is advised you seek medical advice regarding this. In severe cases of both conditions, the doctor might suggest a surgical intervention to manage these conditions. KneeCan Knee Pain Be Caused by Overpronation of the Foot?The knee works together with the hip and ankle to transfer weight from the back and pelvis to the ground during walking or running. If there is pain, moving the knee becomes an inconvenience and can be uncomfortable. Interestingly, knee pain has a myriad of causes, some of which exist outside of the knee joint itself. One such cause is foot overpronation.
What Is Overpronation of the Foot?
Overpronation is the inward turn of the ankle and foot during heel strikes when you take a step. As a result, you push off with the big toe and second toe instead of the forefoot.
How Overpronation Might Cause Knee Pain
With each step, the foot continues to twist more, causing tibial rotation. At the same time, the upper leg is rotating in the opposite direction. The two opposing forces meet at the knee, leading to excessive strain on the knee joint. To compensate for the excessive force, the knee takes up a knock-kneed position. This leads to even more muscles exerting their force in an abnormal direction.
The internal rotation of the knees can cause the patella to pull in the wrong direction. The grinding of the patella over unusual areas can result in injury and pain, which is often felt when the knee is bent during activities like squatting, climbing stairs, sitting on a low stool, cycling, etc. This pain is known as patellofemoral pain syndrome.
Asides from this, the excessive foot pronation and upper leg rotation can also cause inflammation and irritation around the knee cap. The iliotibial band on the outside of the knee can easily become inflamed in such a situation, leading to iliotibial band pain syndrome. In such a case, pain is felt on the outside of the knee.
Also, the continuous push-off with the big and second toe while walking leads to foot instability, and unstable feet can easily cause falls and lead to a knee injury.
Knee pain can also be caused by knee arthritis. Read our post to learn more about relieving pain from knee arthritis.
Other Dangers of Overpronation
Overpronation can cause more than overpronation. There are several other possible complications. Some of them include:
This is the pain that occurs behind, beneath, or in the heel bone.Achilles tendinopathy
Straining the Achilles tendon will result in irritation and inflammation.Shin splints
This overuse injury is caused by increased force transmitted through the lower leg.Bunions
This is a bony outgrowth on the outside of the big toe due to continuously bearing weight.Stress fracture
Stress fractures are caused by very small cracks in the weight-bearing bones of the feet and lower legs.Low back pain
Though the two might seem unrelated, overpronation can cause lower back pain.
How to Treat Knee Pain Caused by Overpronation
Knee pain caused by overpronation is susceptible to conservative treatment if initiated early. The earlier the intervention, the better the prognosis. These treatment methods include:
Poor technique, form, or activity volume can exacerbate symptoms. For example, you might experience knee pain when squatting, so it may be necessary to modify this activity to manage knee pain.
RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation)
Like most acute injuries, the RICE method limits inflammation and relieves pain. Depending on the level of inflammation, it may be used in combination with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
Custom orthotics are designed to support your foot arch and correct abnormal foot motions. They help reposition the foot, leg, and knee, reducing contrarian forces and improving stability. They also cushion the feet while maintaining flexibility.
A combination of stretching and strengthening exercises for the muscles of the lower limb and foot will help correct the alignment of the ankles and knees.
Taping and Bracing
These can also provide motion control, limiting abnormal movement of the lower leg and foot during movement.
A physiotherapist can help address pain from overpronation using TENS, ultrasound therapy, and several other methods. Also, they can retrain your gaits and recommend activity modification in such a way as to limit overpronation during foot motion.
Appropriate footwear is crucial if overpronation is to become a thing of the past. The best footwear for flat feet will have a firm heel counter, a wide support base, and a firm midsole. Usually, these kinds of footwear are labeled as stability shoes or motion control shoes. Some may also come with extra arch support to prevent flat feet or the flattening of the foot arch.
As with many other conditions, surgery is often considered a last resort when conservative treatment has failed to address or relieve symptoms after several weeks. Surgery will aim to correct any complications or deformity and relieve pain.
Take a look at our post to learn more about treating overpronated ankles. Achilles tendonitisPeroneal Tendonitis Exercises & Stretches to Relieve SymptomsPeroneal tendonitis, a common cause of lateral ankle pain, is related to inflammation arising in the lateral peroneal muscles. Inflammation occurs due to the increased load and overuse of the tendons in the lower leg, commonly seen in runners whose ankles turn inward or overpronate as the foot strikes the ground. The outward roll of the foot while running places increased strain on the peroneal muscles, eventually leading to pain and inflammation arising in the area.
Symptoms and Causes of Peroneal Tendonitis
Symptoms of peroneal tendonitis include:
Direct and localized pain along the length of the tendonSwelling or redness around the tendon Pain that worsens with activity and improves with restThickened tendons, seen over time
Causes of peroneal tendonitis include:
Overuse of the tendons in the lower leg Increase in activities that repetitively load the peroneal muscles Improper or old footwear, leading to increased strain placed on the peroneal muscles Biomechanical misalignment in the body
The risk factors that could lead to peroneal tendonitis include:
High foot archesWeakened lower limb muscles Improper footwear Age may increase the chances of developing this condition Tightened calf muscles Poor foot biomechanics Inappropriate training techniques
Exercises for Peroneal Tendonitis
Start by sitting on a chair and bring one leg up to rest your foot over the opposite knee. Move your foot up and down and side to side to warm up the ankle muscles. Repeat on both feet several times. Next, apply gentle resistance to the foot with your hand as you try to pull the foot inwards. Hold for 10 seconds and release. Next, push your foot outward against the resistance of your hand and hold for 10 seconds.
Standing on a soft, flat surface with support if needed, slowly rise onto the toes of both feet at the same time. Be sure to engage the calf muscles. Repeat 10–15 times
Sitting on a soft surface with your legs outstretched in front of you, wrap a towel around the toes of one foot. Pull back, gently applying a stretch to the calf and foot muscles. Hold for 20–30 seconds and repeat.
Heel raises and towel stretches can also help heal a sprained ankle.
Ankle Exercises with Elastic Bands
By using an elastic band, you can do exercises that can directly target the perineal muscles of the lower leg. Start by sitting with your legs out in front of you, placing the elastic band around the forefoot of one foot. Pull the foot inwards while trying to maintain normal alignment of the foot. This will engage the peroneal muscles of the leg. Contract and hold for 5 seconds, then relax. Repeat on the other leg.
Please note that exercises should not cause pain during or after exercise. Be sure to rest if you experience pain or inflammation.
Preventing Peroneal Tendonitis
Peroneal tendonitis can be prevented by using proper supportive footwear and arch supports throughout the day to minimize pressure on the peroneal tendons as you walk or run. Supportive shoes that prevent the outward roll of the foot should help prevent ankle pain when walking or running.
Rest, Ice, and Elevation
Rest will alleviate symptoms of peroneal tendonitis and allow inflammation in the tendon to reduce before going back to your regular exercise. Ice can also be applied alongside elevating the ankle to reduce pain and inflammation in the area further.
Stretching can have significant benefits in maintaining the alignment of the collagen fibers as they heal in the peroneal tendons and muscle fibers.
Medication can be prescribed by a medical professional to help you manage pain and inflammation. Anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen and diclofenac, will greatly improve these symptoms.
You can gently massage the area along the tendon where the pain is located using a topical analgesic gel or lotion to relieve pain. The massage also brings blood to the area, promoting the healing of the tissue.
A physical therapist will be able to guide you through the rehabilitation process and other treatment modalities that could help you heal and return to sport safely.
How Long Is Recovery From Peroneal Tendonitis?
Recovering from peroneal tendonitis can take a fair amount of time. It can take 6–8 weeks to improve with limited activity.
Surgical intervention is rare but not uncommon. It is usually a last resort if all conservative management strategies have failed to manage pain. Scar tissue around the tendon that has developed through countless healing processes should be surgically removed to ensure smooth gliding of the tendon. Please consult with a medical professional regarding starting exercise therapy after surgery.
Sometimes sudden ankle pain can occur due to different types of ankle sprains or even ankle arthritis. If you're unsure about the cause of your ankle pain, take a look at the ankle pain symptom checker. Foot painStress Fractures of the Foot: Causes, Symptoms, & TreatmentA stress fracture is characterized by very small cracks in the weight-bearing bones of the feet and lower legs. Stress fractures occur through repetitive force applied to a bone repeatedly over a period of time. The forces repeatedly applied to create a stress fracture are usually minimal to moderate, while a higher force is required to cause a more significant and traumatic fracture. The bones of the foot and ankle are susceptible to stress fractures or injury due to relatively small bones having to absorb large amounts of force as you land on your ankle. Not allowing enough time for rest between high-impact activities can lead to sudden ankle pain and stress fractures over time.
Symptoms of a Stress Fracture in Your Foot
The primary reported symptom of a stress fracture is localized pain arising in the area. Depending on where the stress fracture has occurred in the foot and lower leg, you might be able to feel around for the affected area and determine where the potential fracture could be. Symptoms of pain are often made worse by activity due to repetitive forces applied to the foot and lower leg. For example, you might experience more severe heel pain after running. Symptoms will usually improve with rest and limiting high-impact activities.
Causes of a Stress Fracture in Your Foot
The majority of stress fractures seen in healthy bones of the feet and lower leg are caused by repetitive force applied to the area over time. This can be commonly seen in people who are runners, basketball players, cheerleaders, athletes, or anyone doing repetitive movements during high-impact activities. Increasing the duration and frequency of these activities can result in the development of stress fractures. In fact, most of these activities are linked to pain at the back of the heel, which is likely due to a stress fracture of the heel bone.
Stress fractures also occur more frequently in people with bone conditions like osteoporosis. Osteoporosis leads to weak bones and an increased chance of a bone fracture. This condition usually occurs slowly with age or could be due to the use of medications that have been linked to osteoporosis. Other conditions such as flat feet and past injuries can also increase the chances of developing a stress fracture while participating in high-impact activities.
Risk factors for developing a stress fracture include:
High-impact sports such as basketball, athletics, and gymnastics Foot problems such as flat feet, high arches, or bunionsOsteoporosis Improper footwear Increase in frequency and duration of activity Change in activity surface Medications leading to weakened bones
Treating a Stress Fracture in Your Foot
For the bone to heal, there needs to be considerable activity modification that allows time for the stress fracture to heal. Applying ice to the area can help reduce pain and inflammation caused by the stress fracture. This may also help with healing in the long term. Depending on the X-rays or MRIs that have been used to diagnose the severity of the stress fracture, the doctor may suggest a supportive moonboot or cast with crutches to reduce pressure on that foot or leg for optimal healing.
Medication can be used to control pain in the area during the healing process. After enough time has passed and once the pain has disappeared, activity can gradually be resumed under the instruction of your medical doctor. It is essential to follow the doctor's instructions regarding healing times, as you could put yourself at risk of worsening the fracture or completely fracturing the bone. In cases where the bones fail to heal correctly, surgery may be required to attach the ends of the bone for proper healing to take place.
If you cannot bear weight or walk without experiencing moderate to high pain levels, please seek medical advice. Make sure you follow the doctor's instructions so that you don't aggravate your stress fracture further, which could potentially lead to a complete fracture. This is crucial in managing this condition.
How Can You Prevent Stress Fractures?
Orthotics or footwear that provide shock absorption and arch support for running and walking will help reduce the shock placed on the bones of the feet and lower legs. This can reduce your risk of developing a stress fracture. Sufficient rest between high-impact activities will allow the bones to heal and reduce your chances of developing a stress fracture.
You can try to avoid running on hard surfaces. This can aggravate your symptoms by increasing the pressure placed on the lower leg bones. You can try running on grass as the softer surface won't exacerbate stress fractures. Foot supinationChoosing the Best Running Shoes for Supinated FeetOverpronation and supination are common foot problems experienced by athletes. While overpronation is more common, supination is no less significant in its impact on the runner. To understand foot supination, the supinated foot rolls on its outer borders during weight transfer, and with excessive supination comes pain and soreness of the leg muscles as compensatory mechanisms kick in and gait adjustment takes place.
Foot supination is the result of a muscle imbalance during foot motion. There are many causes of foot supination, including limb length discrepancy, foot width, ankle stability, the shape of the foot arch, how the shoe fits, and body malalignment.
In this guide, we discuss how supinated feet affect the body, how running with supinated feet is experienced, the type of shoe to wear as a supinator, and how to choose the best footwear for your needs.
The Impact of Supinated Feet on the Body
A foot that supinates can be a significant problem when exercising. The foot cannot adapt to the surface it's walking on, meaning that the muscles and bones have to compensate to maintain your posture and balance. The weight that should be transferred directly to the ground through the foot is reabsorbed and redistributed to the lower limb.
Over time, this increases the tension in the muscles, ligaments, and tendons of the lower limb, including the calves, knees, and hips. Consequently, more energy is expended while exercising with supinated feet.
What Type of Footwear Do Supinators Need for Running?
Interestingly, the right footwear can help correct excess supination, ensuring efficient weight transfer during running. The best footwear for supinators to wear when running has extra cushioning, good arch support, and a wide toe box. When working in combination, these features will ensure the foot derives maximal support, encourage pronation, and aid shock absorption.
How to Choose Running Shoes for Supinated Feet
When purchasing a running shoe for supinated feet, look for footwear that offers the following:
Are you trying to decide if you need arch support? For supination, the simple answer is yes, as there are many benefits of arch support. Look for shoes with mid-foot arch support, as this compensates for excessive supination. Shoes without such arch support encourage supination and cause arch pain.Comfortable fit
An oversized shoe increases the normal supination of the foot. Therefore, you should opt for shoes that are the right size for you, both in width and length.Heel cushioning
A running shoe with extra cushioning at the heels will minimize the impact of the ground on your heel during a heel strike. The best cushions are soft, stable, and springy to allow for efficient energy absorption and transfer between the foot and the ground and vice versa. Thus, the heel cushioning protects the heel while you run, while guaranteeing efficient energy returns.Wide toe box
Shoes with a narrow toe box restrict the movement of your feet and increase the likelihood of damage as a result of supination. With a wider toe box, the feet have room to spread after every stride, reducing the strain on the fascia and preventing conditions such as plantar fasciitis, which is common in people that supinate excessively.Ankle support and stability
With increased supination, the pressure on the plantar fascia increases, leading to plantar fasciitis. To prevent this and other overuse ankle injuries, you should opt for shoes that are stable and provide extra ankle support.Neutral feel
Cushioning or not, you still need a shoe that has the natural feel of the ground when you run. It may be necessary to ensure the shoe has a responsive cushion to ensure the feeling remains as natural as it can be with a high arch.Using orthotics
Even if you find a shoe with all these features, a shoe alone cannot cure excessive supination. However, using the shoe in conjunction with an orthotic can be highly effective. This is especially important if you have pain while running, or your shoes do not fit correctly.
Orthotics make it easier and more comfortable and pain-free to perform your activities of daily living and sport. Additionally, they help to reduce the chance of developing complications or future injuries due to the supination.
Running With Supinated Feet
Running with supinated feet places extra stress on the outer side of the foot. There will also be increased tension in the muscles, ligaments, and tendons in the lower limb as they work together to counterbalance the tension from the redistributed body weight.
To address this, running with orthotics and proper footwear helps you to control foot motion and prevent further complications. It also gives you room to continue to work towards improving your technique, so you do not supinate excessively when running.
Remember that finding the correct footwear is only one method of treating the complications of supination. Doing exercises and frequent stretches are two of the many other ways to treat excessive supination.