Is Foot Pain Slowing You Down?
By Dr. Bruce Theall
October 09, 2015
Category: Foot Care

Pain in the feet can be very general statement, but once your podiatrist does a proper evaluation, you can have all the answers to the questions regarding your foot pains.  The can easily be separated into three areas to help you and your doctor determine where most of the pain is and how it relates to you.  The heel, arch, and ball of the foot are the main three areas that present with pain, some are related to one another when diagnosing however, each area of the foot can have its own factors for causing the discomfort or pain.

                If there is pain in your heel, plantar fasciitis is the term commonly used and traced to an inflammation on the bottom of the foot. More specifically, plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the connective tissue, called plantar fascia that stretches from the base of the toes, across the arch of the foot, to the point at which it inserts into the heel bone.  Over-pronation is the most common cause of plantar fasciitis. As the foot rolls inward excessively when walking, it flattens the foot, lengthens the arch, and puts added tension on the plantar fascia. Over time, this causes inflammation.

                If there is pain in your arch, you may have painful flat feet, or pes planus, which is a very common postural deformity in which the arches of the foot collapse, and the  entire sole of the foot coming into contact with the ground.  Flat feet are a common condition of the foot structure.  In infants and toddlers, prior to walking, the longitudinal arch is not developed, and flat feet are normal.  Most feet are flexible and an arch appears when children begin standing on their toes.  Throughout the development from childhood to adulthood, there is constant growth and strengthening that occurs in the body and most people develop normal arches by full adulthood.  Some individuals have an arch that simply never develops in one foot or both feet.

                If you have pain in the ball of your foot, metatarsalgia is localized pain below and between the metatarsal bones, that is with or without bruising and inflammation.  Often times seen in conjunction with a neuroma/foot which is metatarsalgia caused by compression of a branch of plantar nerves between the heads of metatarsal bones.  The pain is often described as sharp and shooting pain in the toes especially upon flexion and can be localized to 2nd, 3rd, and 4th metatarsal heads or seen just in the 1st metatarsal head.  The pain is sometimes described as “walking over pebbles”. 

                Several treatments that can help if not cure most of these foot pains, are custom orthotics.  Orthotics are devices that are placed into shoes in order to correct abnormal walking patterns and to improve foot function.  Many times orthotics are confused with arch supports, which are over-the-counter devices available in pharmacies and retail stores. These arch supports claim to improve foot pain, but they fall short in helping most people, because of the poor quality of materials used, and the fact that they are not individualized to a particular person or that person's problems.

Another important, sometimes over looked aspect of decreasing foot pain the shoes we wear.  Most people chose shoes according to fashion and comfort, but this often is not the ideal way to choose the best shoes.  You should see your podiatrist for the proper evaluation of your specific foot type, and then a proper and specific recommendation will be given to you to purchase certain foot wear.  The correct shoe purchase is vital and you must consider the right shoe for the right level of your daily activity or sport.  Your biomechanics should be evaluated and are reflected in the shoe design.  Many additional pains in the feet are secondary to an inappropriate shoe types. 

A podiatrist is the only person that is trained in a specialized field in medicine for anything concerning the lower extremity, foot and ankle, that’s why it is vital for you to visit your podiatrist if there are any problems concerning your feet.  If there are any other questions feel free to contact Dr. Theall’s Gentle Touch Footcare office for all your foot and ankle needs and concerns at 973 673 – 3668.  Remember to always support your feet and they will carry you everywhere!!!