Preventing Foot Pain

Did you know that we are likely to walk more than 100,000 miles over the course of our lives?  That would be about the same as circling the earth 4X at the equator, but even as important as your feet are, it’s so very easy to neglect them….at least until they start to hurt!

There are some recommended steps you can take to avoid getting foot pain such as the following:

  • Feet bear the weight of our entire bodies so the more weight they support, the harder they need to work. We all need to stay at a healthy weight.  Paul Talusan, MD, clinical assistant professor of orthopedic surgery at the University of Michigan believes the best way to prevent foot pain is to keep your weight down.

  • As we get older our calf muscles tighten and this puts more stress on the balls of your feet. By stretching your calves on a regular basis it can help in preventing foot pain.  The following stretches are recommended at least 3X a day:
    • Stand with your toes on a step and your heels off the edge.
    • Slowly lower your heels down and hold for 10 seconds before lifting your heels to the starting position.
    • Repeat 5 to 10X. Don’t force your heel farther than it wants to do.  If the movement is too much for both feet at once, do one foot at a time.

  • Kick the high-heel habit as they can play havoc on your feet. They may upgrade your outfit but it takes just 1 hour and 6 minutes of wearing them to lock in the pain.  Don’t squeeze your feet into pointy-toed heels or you might expect to get ingrown toenails, bunions, blisters, to shortened calf muscles, back pain and deformed toes.

  • Be sure you are wearing the proper sized shoes. Feet change shape as you age and any tight-fitting footwear can lead to heel pain and all the above-mentioned problems.  Keep the following tips in mind:
    • It’s common to have feet of different sizes so be sure to have both feet measured and fit to the larger of the two.
    • Leave about half an inch of wiggle room between your longest toe and the shoe.
    • Shop for shoes in the afternoon since the feet swell over the course of the day. If you normally wear socks, wear them when buying new shoes.

  • Sitting all day is bad for your health and standing all day isn’t great either. Take a load off your feet during breaks and resist the urge to run errands during lunch.  Opt instead for a seated meal.

  • Don’t cut corners when trimming toenails, as this is a major source of foot pain when you develop ingrown toenails. Cut your toenails straight across with clean, sharp nail scissors.

  • Last but not least, stay hydrated as this can cause foot cramps as well as a dietary imbalance. Drink plenty of fluids.  Lack of potassium can also cause cramping, so eat foods like bananas or spinach.

Dr Fredda Branyon