On the whole, the feet are very small when compared to the rest of the body. During the day, most people spend about 12 to 14 hours on their feet. Because the feet are used so much during normal daily activity, the excessive loads that are placed on the feet mean approximately 75% of people worldwide will suffer foot pain at some stage in their lives. Foot pain can also reduce your mobility and independence, as is often seen in the elderly. When your feet hurt, it not only disturbs your body but it can prove to be distracting to your work and concentration.
Causes of foot pain
Prolonged standing, over pronation and the pressures that this places on the joints, muscles and ligaments of the foot are major causes of foot pain. There are many occupations that require long periods of static standing such as the health, retail, fashion and construction industries. Standing for long periods of time causes the muscles of the lower limb to become fatigued and overworked. Blood pooling due to decreased venous return also increases discomfort in the lower limb. The overall result of this being tired aching legs. Ill fitted shoes and wearing high heels can also contribute to foot pain. High heels make women to look smart and taller, however they can become very uncomfortable if they wear these for long periods or during inappropriate activities. High heels increase the pressure on the ball of the foot and toe region above what the foot is designed to withstand. This overloads the structures of the forefoot leading to ball of foot pain and discomfort.
Aging, being overweight and many other systemic diseases such as diabetes, gout, arthritis all increase the likelihood of foot problems. Generally these systemic (whole body) diseases affect the function and structure (depending on the disease) of the foot. This changes the function of the foot and often leads to foot pain. Certain age groups also suffer foot pain at different times of their lives. Children suffer from aches and pains during their growth and development. This was traditionally called growing pains, however today we know that there is treatment for these aches and pains. The two most common children's pains are, Severs disease (pain at the heel) and Osgoodschlatters Syndrome (pain at the knee). These are both growing related problems that are aggravated by over use and poor mechanics. The elderly are another group that often suffer foot pain. This is largely due to over use from a life time of wear and tear. Although wear and tear are not reversible, there are still treatment options available for this group of patients, to make walking pain free.
What people do when they face the problem of foot pain?
In most of the cases when people suffer foot pain the first thing they do is to reduce their activity. This usually works quote well as it will rest the foot. They apply pain removing gel to the painful area or take anti-inflammatory medications. This approach masks the symptoms of their foot pain. The real underlying problem of most kinds of foot pain is a functional abnormality that will need to be corrected. Over weight and unfit people who are trying to lose weight often walk for exercise. The extra weight and activity further strains the feet, making walking less enjoyable, making exercise and weight loss even less likely. Some people have no option other than to continue activity. This patient group wither either has to work due to financial commitments or has to continue activity as they are part of a sporting team. This group usually tends to push through the pain barrier until it is impossible to go on any longer. Some people chose to ignore their foot pain and continue to wear their fashion shoes (Fore example ladies wearing high heeled fashion shoes). Over time the strain on the foot compounds and eventually results in an overuse injury. When the foot injury gets to this stage it is often impossible to ignore.
The solution for foot pain
Overall the best solution to the above mentioned problems is to support the foot and help to limit excess wear and tear on the foot. This is best done with orthotic innersoles and appropriate footwear. Orthotic innerosles help to support the foot, prevent over pronation and limit wear and tear on the joints, ligaments and muscles of the foot. Orthotic innersoles align the foot in its most efficient functional position and help to reduce the wear and tear on your feet and ankles. The use of these orthotics results in a reduction in the pain in the feet. It is important when selecting orthotic innersoles to select an orthotic that matches your activity level and also your shoe type. For example different orthotic innersoles are used for running as opposed to ladies fashion shoes.