Foot pain affects about 77% of American adults. About half of those affected report that it impacts their quality of life. The good news is that you can prevent and even correct some types of foot pain by avoiding common bad habits that may be causing these issues.
Foot pain that interferes with your daily activities requires a medical examination to identify the cause of the problem. Podiatrist Marshall L. Lukoff, DPM, FAAFS, of Foot Care Specialists, PC in Quincy and Dedham, Massachusetts, provides expert diagnosis and treatment for all types of foot problems. Dr. Lukoff has the experience necessary to accurately determine the cause of your pain and develop an individualized plan to improve your condition.
Early intervention can give you the best chance for relief from most types of foot pain before it causes permanent damage. Learn how common bad habits may be damaging your feet.
Wearing high heels
Wearing high heels can upset the natural alignment of your body. Shoes that position your heels higher than your toes can force your weight-bearing line to tip forward and put too much pressure on your toes.
Wearing high heels can cause corns, calluses, ingrown toenails, and hammertoes. The damage can be worsened if you wear high heels with a narrow, pointy toe box, which may force your toes to sit on top of each other or push your nails into their nail beds.
You can reduce the damage from high heels by choosing styles that don’t have a dramatic rise from your toes to your heels. This can relieve some of the pain and pressure on the front of your feet.
Furthermore, avoid thin stilettos and look for thicker heels that distribute your weight more evenly. Heels with a wider toe box can reduce the amount of pressure placed on your toes.
Wearing flat shoes
With all the warnings about wearing high heels, don’t be fooled into thinking that wearing flat shoes will keep your feet pain-free. Flat shoes that lack adequate heel and arch support can cause discomfort and long-term damage.
Your arches absorb between 200,000 and 300,000 pounds of stress for every mile you walk. Wearing shoes with appropriate arch support will help your arches absorb most of the pressure you exert when you walk or run.
When a shoe doesn’t provide adequate arch support, your foot is at risk of rotating too far inward or outward with each step. This can distribute pressure on your foot unevenly and cause wear and tear on portions of your foot not intended to support the rest of your body.
One of the most common conditions associated with flat shoes is plantar fasciitis. With plantar fasciitis, the thick ligament underneath your foot that links your heel to your toes — the plantar fascia — gets inflamed. This condition can cause debilitating arch and heel pain.
Walking barefoot in public places makes you susceptible to germs that cause athlete’s foot, plantar warts, fungal toenails, and other dangerous infections. You’re more likely to pick up these diseases when you walk barefoot in places where other people walk barefoot, such as public showers, locker rooms, and gyms.
Walking outside without shoes can be just as dangerous. Without foot protection, you risk stubbing your toes, getting blisters, and burning your feet on hot pavement. You’re also at risk of stepping on small objects that you can’t see, such as stones or broken glass.
Improperly trimming toenails
An ingrown toenail occurs when the side edge of your nail grows into your toe skin. You can experience pain when the nail digs into your skin. If the nail breaks the skin and allows bacteria to enter, an infection can occur and intensify the pain.
Improper toenail trimming is one of the most common causes of ingrown toenails. To avoid getting an ingrown toenail, cut your nails straight across — not rounded like you would your fingernails — and don’t cut them too short.
Don’t ignore chronic foot pain. Find out how to avoid and correct bad habits that may be contributing to your condition. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone with Foot Care Specialists, PC today.