Foot pain can be a real bother whilst exercising as simply standing can cause a niggle, and then each jump or step when running can be painful.
Foot pain can be complex to diagnose.
Each foot has 26 bones, 30 joints and more than 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments. The heel itself has many muscles and structures attached to it, and if these get tight or inflamed, it can cause pain. There is also a fat pad that gets bruised by treading on something sharp like a rock or a pretzel (don’t ask me about that injury!). Occasionally a fall or jumping injury can cause a fracture, so if you have night pain and your heel hurts to squeeze it tightly, then I would recommend getting an Xray.
When does foot pain commonly occur?
- Foot pain can be common in people who start running or who have recently increased their exercise loads.
- Most often pain is felt in the middle and bottom of the foot; it’s worse in the morning and then improves throughout the day; and it can ache after activity or when walking bare foot.
- Tight muscles in the lower leg, which attach to the foot, often lead to foot pain.
- Some people will get arch, mid-foot or outer-foot pain. If this started with a sudden jump, impact or something falling on your foot, then please organise an xray. Otherwise, it may be related to the way your foot moves during walking, and wearing supportive shoes will help.
What should you do if you have foot pain?
- Check your shoes: Do you need a new pair? Are they suited to the type of activity you are doing? Do you need to get your feet professionally assessed and shoes professionally fitted?
- Regular stretching of your calf, shin and leg can help reduce the load on the foot attachments and make sure the calf is strong enough to provide good shock absorption.
- If the pain is not settling, an appointment with a physio or podiatrist can be really helpful to see if you foot needs more support like a gel pad, taping or orthotics.
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THIS ARTICLE WAS WRITTEN BY PHYSIOTHERAPIST LIBBY BORMAN. Libby is a Women’s Health Physiotherapist practicing in Yokine, WA. She has a special interest in incontinence, pelvic floor dysfunction, pelvic floor prolapse, sexual dysfunction, and muscular pain & dysfunction. If you want more information please visit https://www.lifereadyphysio.com.au/clinics/yokine/ If you have any questions about musculoskeletal injuries, pregnancy or postnatal recovery, send Libby and email on firstname.lastname@example.org