The Most Common Causes of Foot Pain

BY KAYLA BEIRNE

Foot pain can go from a nuisance to a serious condition if you’re not careful. Reduce or prevent blisters and inflammation with these helpful tips.

If you’re physically active, nothing is more frustrating than foot pain. While we can work through sore feet for a while, eventually, foot pain puts us on the sidelines and keeps us from engaging in the activities we love. Fortunately, we can avoid many of the most common causes of foot pain with a few simple precautions. Here’s what to look out for and what you can do.

Achilles Tendinitis

We all remember the Greek myth of Achilles and his lone weak spot being the tendon connecting the heel to the calf. Despite the strength of the Achilles tendon itself, it’s susceptible to painful inflammation from overexertion of the legs and feet. Runners ramping up their regimens can suffer from Achilles tendinitis, as well as the weekend warriors who pair days of idleness with short bursts of high-impact activity. Don’t forget your stretches—untreated inflammation could lead to a rupture.

Plantar Fasciitis

Another form of inflammation concerns the bottom of the foot. The ligament that connects your heel to your toe can take some damage after some hard miles, especially if your arches are too high or too low. Inflammation of the plantar fascia can keep runners and basketball players off their feet until the swelling subsides. You don’t even have to be a cardio enthusiast to develop plantar fasciitis—the malady once went by the moniker “policeman’s foot” from the beat cops who developed the condition simply from being on their feet all day. Treat this condition with anti-inflammatories, physical therapy exercises, and good old-fashioned rest.

Blisters

If you have a way of burning through new pairs of shoes, that pesky breaking-in period can be one of the most common causes of foot pain. While there’s no way around breaking in a new pair, you can take steps—as it were—to make the process less injurious. Start off slow with running shoes, building your mileage back up to normal after three to five miles of walking and light jogging in the new pair. For heavier fare, such as breaking in leather boots, you may want to consider soaking the leather in warm water and letting the natural material contour itself to your feet. This, in tandem with a gradual run-up, can prevent some of the blisters and other battle scars that come with doing too much too soon in a new pair of footwear.

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