Feet are the foundation of our body!
The feet serve a lot for us daily from walking, running, climbing to maintaining body balance but, no one takes them seriously until or unless they get hurt.
Foot pain refers to an unpleasant pain and discomfort associated with one or more parts of the foot including, toes, soles, heels and arches. Lifestyle modifications, ageing, and some medical conditions are the prime cause of foot pain.
In this article, we will discuss the significant causes of foot pain. But before going in details lets go through in brief about foot pain and some facts related to foot pain.
On an average one-quarter of the population is affected by foot pain at some time points in their life. From a survey, it is found that foot pain is experienced majorly by the adult population, i.e. approx. 17 to 42 %.
Foot pain is often disabling and can spoil the mood, self-care ability, behaviour and quality of life.
The feet are one of the most complex parts of the body as it is made up of 26 bones each and more than 30 small joints. According to the College of Podiatry, on an average, a person will walk 150,000 miles in their life span, which is somehow equivalent to walk around the globe six times.
10 causes of foot pain
The causes of foot pain can vary from injury and inflammation to structural deformities and medical conditions. Not every feet pain are serious, but one should never ignore any pain because a small neglecting can cost more.
The lifestyle such as long working hours, improper or unhealthy diet, poor posture during sitting, working and sleeping, wearing high heels and tight shoes are some other possible causes of foot pain.
Athlete’s foot: it is a type of fungal infection that lies between the toes and can cause significant pain, itching, flaking, blistering and discomfort. The athlete’s foot is caused by a fungus named Trichophyton (it is commonly found in clothing and on the floor). The fungus affects the skin of foot only when the skin is warm, damp (moist) and irritated.
Bunions: is a type of abnormalities of feet and usually leads to a bony bump on the large toe joints. Wearing tight or narrow shoes for prolong period is one of the prime cause behind bunions development, or it may be due to genetics.
Tight shoes put extra pressure on the Metatarsophalangeal joint (a joint where foot bone and toe bone meets). Bunions significantly lead to pain and difficulty in moving toes while walking.
Ingrown toenails: it generally occurs when the edge of toenails grows into the skin and resulting pain, infection and inflammation. Usually, ingrown toenails do not seek any medical attention, but when the pain and infection persist for a long time, then it requires medication. One can also avoid getting an ingrown toenail by wearing shoes of their size (i.e. not too tight) or by cutting toenails.
Plantar Fasciitis: Plantar fasciitis is a common injury of feet that generally occurs when the thick, fibrous tissue on the bottom of the foot becomes inflamed and cause stabbing pain. Runners and ballet dancer are more prone to get plantar fasciitis, but it can also occur in middle-aged people and in those who are overweight.
Arthritis: arthritis is a type of bone deformities. There are a few different types of arthritis that can majorly affect feet health and cause severe foot pain. Such type of arthritic pain seeks proper medical attention.
Gout: gout is a condition caused due to injury or sickness, resulting in swelling and severe pain in the big toes region.
Osteoarthritis: generally occurs when the cartilages (protecting ends of the bone) started breaking down resulting pain and weak bone.
Reactive arthritis: it is generally caused due to rashes present over the bottom lining of feet resulting pain and inflammation.
Psoriatic arthritis: such type of condition generally occurs when the toenails get thicken, and pits may develop, resulting in the separation of the nail from the nail bed.
Rheumatoid arthritis: is one of the leading cause of foot pain as it affects the joints in feet region resulting bunions, claw toe or hammer toe and corns.
Bursitis: An excruciating painful condition of feet which occurs when the bursae (sacs filled with fluid that protect bones, muscles and tendons) in the feet region become inflamed. It is generally caused due to injury, but conditions such as infection, arthritis and bunions often lead to bursitis.
Bone Spurs: Bone spurs, also known as osteophytes, is an abnormal piece of the bone when two bones stick out and generally develops along the edges of the bones in the feet region. It is often sometimes due to osteoarthritis when the cartilage on the ends of bone breaks down, resulting in the two bones come together causes severe pain and loss of motion.
Tendinitis: a disease condition in which tendon of feet becomes irritated and inflamed, resulting in pain and tenderness. It generally occurs near heel region hence called as Achilles tendinitis. Tendinitis is a common problem and can be healed by simple physical therapy and pain killers, but it becomes more serious when left untreated for a prolonged period, resulting in tendon to burst and needs surgery.
Tarsal tunnel syndrome: it involves foot pain, numbness or tingling near the sole region of feet. Such type of conditions usually occurs due to injuries or foot ulcer, diabetes neuropathy, abnormal growth and flatfeet.
Corns and calluses: corns can be caused due to the pressure exerted by bone from inside on the skin whereas, calluses generally develop when the skin of foot get thick and hard due to friction resulting in pain and inflammation.
Concluding, approximately one-quarter of the population are affected by foot pain at some time points in their life span. Unhealthy feet may be the root cause of some other diseases such as knee pain, back pain and joints pain.