If you're anything like the vast majority of Americans making New Years resolutions, you committed to losing weight and getting healthy. We podiatrists think that's great! Getting active and making lifestyle changes to promote health decrease your chances of diabetes, strengthen muscles & bones, and increase your health & happiness overall. So why would we be worried that your resolutions are going to prompt you to start the year off with aches and pains in your feet?
Right about now you're a month into your new workout routine, and often this is when more serious foot pain crops up. You hit the gym as per your committment, you work out hard, then you wake up one morning and pain is shooting through your heel, the ball of your foot, and/or it hurts when engaging in weight bearing activity. Exercise now hurts and you're right back at square one: avoiding the gym & exercise altogether.
So what happened? In January & February, foot and ankle surgeons see an annual influx of patients with foot pain caused by exercise. Doctors interviewed by the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (ACFAS) say the most common problems are heel pain, pinched nerves and improperly supported arches. Below we share tips for preventing and treating these conditions.
Pinched Nerves (Neuromas & Neuropathy)
Characterised by pain in the ball of the foot & tingling or numbness in the toes, pinched nerves are something that should be addressed by a podiatrist. It can be caused by shoes that are too tight or otherwise ill-fitting, but can also be related to an impact injury or the progression of diabetes induced nerve damage. Seeing a podiatrist is the best way to rule out major medical issues before attributing it to bad shoes.
Heel Pain & Plantar Fasciitis
Most heel pain cases are caused by plantar fasciitis a condition that is sometimes also called heel spur syndrome when a spur is present. Heel pain may also be due to other causes, such as a stress fracture, tendonitis, arthritis, or nerve irritation. The only surefire way to determine the cause is by seeing a podiatrist for an assessment.
The symptoms that are associated with plantar fasciitis heel pain are pain in the bottom of the heel, pain in the arch of the foot, pain that is worse when first getting out of bed, and pain that increases over a period of months.
Foot surgeons recommend athletic shoes that support the arch and cushion the heel. Buy shoes designed for the sport, and always consider a custom orthotic for your shoes.
Foot pain is often a simple matter of improperly fitting footwear & lack of support in shoes. Your standard issue gym shoe lays a nice foundation for shock absorption, but because foot shape & support needs differ between individuals, virtually no shoe on the market is going to fit perfectly enough that it provides flawless support. That's the job of custom orthotics, supplied by a podiatrist.
We have a wide range of custom shoe orthotics for our patients located on-site at our podiatrist office in Southfield MI. We measure and take digital imprints of your foot on-site to ensure the best support for your feet- a quality measure you simply can't get from orthotics at a retail store like Walmart or CVS. Our prices are far more afforable in the long run- the quality of the materials is superior to those that you see in stores, made to withstand daily use for a much longer period of time.
Bottom line: Consult your family doctor AND your podiatrist before engaging in a rigorous new workout routine. Foot pain doesn't have to sabotage New Year's resolutions to exercise. If pain in the foot or ankle lasts five to seven days in a row, see podiatrist to make sure you get back on your feet again.