A surprising number of people suffer with foot pain and aching feet. In fact in some studies the numbers top one third of mature adults!
And the issue is probably more serious than you might realize. “Little” foot problems have been linked to serious knee, hip and back trouble.1 Foot problems can affect your balance, too.2
In other words, problems with your feet can land you flat on you back – in more ways than one. And when that happens, you miss out on so many of the things you enjoy.
The answer to your aching feet may be a lot simpler than you think. Today we’ll explore three of the most common causes of foot trouble, and simple solutions that can often clear these problems up quickly.
Prevent painful and unsightly corns and calluses
Calluses are your body’s natural reaction to repeated pressure or friction. Layers of dead skin build up to protect the tissue underneath. Carpenters and gardeners, for example, develop calluses on their hands from using their tools.
On your feet, calluses normally form on fairly soft areas, such as your heel, while corns more often form on toe joints. Both can be a sign of poorly fitting socks or shoes.
Most people use a pumice stone to remove calluses. But this is like trying to bail a sinking rowboat. It looks like you’re doing something good – but the water will continue coming in until you plug the leak.
In this case, plugging the leak is easy. Don’t wear loose-fitting socks or shoes without socks. Avoid tight shoes – especially those that squeeze your toes. And – sorry, ladies – stay away from high heels.
And speaking of high heels, calluses and corns aren’t the only reason to shun them.
Avoiding the crippling discomfort of bunions
Another common foot problem is structural. I’m talking about bunions, those unsightly – and extremely uncomfortable – lumps that appear at the base of big toes.
This is actually a problem where the big toe gets out of line. It tends to run in families. It’s common in people with flat feet. And fashion is often the cause.
You see, high-heeled shoes are a recipe for disaster where your feet are concerned. Especially if they’re narrow in the toe. They force your toes into a tiny wedge… and that can push your big toe even further out of line.
Eventually, your feet may hurt so badly that you can hardly walk. And that may require serious medical intervention.
Wearing flat-soled shoes with adequate toe room can help minimize this complaint. Your doctor may also suggest custom inserts for your shoes. These inserts can help keep the problem from getting worse.
Finally, let’s look at a less serious issue… but one that often goes unrecognized.
What to do when plantar fasciitis strikes
Every day, thousands of people swing out of bed, put their feet on the floor and wince in discomfort. You may be one of them. The ache can be in your heel or along the bottom of your foot. And it often “goes away” after a few minutes of hobbling around.
This may be a problem with your plantar fascia, a large ligament (connective tissue) that runs the length of your foot. When it’s over-worked or irritated, it lets you know.
Worn or badly fitted shoes can cause plantar fasciitis. So can being on your feet too much – especially on hard surfaces. Tight calf muscles or being overweight are other causes.
Shoes that offer plenty of support and padding can help you avoid the problem… or make having it less uncomfortable. Rest, ice and gentle stretching of your calf muscles and Achilles tendon can also help end the soreness.
The first step to protecting your quality of life
Sometimes we don’t appreciate how hard our feet work until something goes wrong. When it hurts to walk – or even stand up – sports, dancing, playing with the grandkids, even a morning at the mall can be a challenge. Or nearly impossible.
Keeping your feet healthy will help you get more enjoyment out of life. And that may be as simple as choosing the right pair of shoes.
1. Menz HB, et al. Foot pain in community-dwelling older people: an evaluation of the Manchester Foot Pain and Disability Index. Rheumatology 2006 45(7):863-867.
2. Menz HB, et al. Foot and Ankle Risk Factors for Falls in Older People: A Prospective Study. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci (2006) 61 (8): 866-870.
Dr. Woliner is a board certified medical physician and modern day pioneer in the world of alternative men’s health and nutritional science. Using a unique combination of modern “Western” medicine and traditional holistic healing practices, Dr.Woliner has revolutionized men’s health care treatments for many of today’s most common male health concerns – specializing in alternative treatments for Prostate enlargement (BPH) and a myriad of erectile concerns and men’s sexual health issues.
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