HEALTH WATCH: Getting a leg up on foot pain

Posted by Dennis Mundt on

Pain or discomfort can be felt anywhere in the foot, from the heel, toes, and arch to the instep or bottom.

Foot pain and its various causes can make walking or running difficult for some people, limiting their ability to go about their daily lives.

Dr. Rose Southerland, DPM, a board-certified podiatrist at Wilmington Health, 1202 Medical Center Drive, Wilmington, enjoys helping patients with their feet and ankles.

She stated that there are numerous options available to assist people with foot pain.1) Diabetes and gout are two common medical causes of foot pain.

Several medical conditions can cause foot pain.

Southerland sees a lot of diabetic and gout patients who have foot pain.

"Diabetes is probably one of the most common health issues that leads to foot issues," she said.

Peripheral vascular disease, in which a person's blood circulation to their legs and feet is reduced; Rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune and inflammatory disease; psoriatic arthritis, an inflammatory type of arthritis that causes pain, stiffness, and swelling of the joints; and Morton neuroma, in which a nerve is injured and causes pain, stiffness, and swelling of the joints, according to Southerland.

Foot pain can also be caused by other factors such as aging, being on one's feet for long periods of time, being overweight, injury, wearing shoes that don't fit well or provide adequate cushioning, excessive walking or sports activities, and trauma, according to the National Library of Medicine.

Plantar fasciitis is a condition in which the thick tissue on the bottom of the foot becomes swollen or inflamed, usually as a result of overuse or stretching.

"That's really hard on your feet, and if you're not wearing proper supportive shoes, the band of tissue on the bottom of your foot can become strained and overused, and it can become very inflamed," Southerland said. Southerland added that activities that place a lot of pressure on the ball of your foot and wearing shoes that are too narrow can contribute to problems like Morton neuroma by increasing pressure on the nervus.

Changing one's activities and shoes can help to relieve pain.4) Choosing the right pair of shoes, even flip-flops, can help to relieve some foot pain.

"We live in an area where sandals and flip-flops are ubiquitous for nine months of the year, and many of the sandals and flip-flops we wear provide no support," Southerland explained.

"Plus, because the flip-flop isn't strapped in or laced up, our foot has to work harder to stay in it by gripping it with the toes and trying to keep the shoe on." "One way to prevent a lot of the foot pain people come in to see us for is stretching," Southerland said.

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