Why Do My Feet Hurt? Leading Causes of Foot Pain
Nearly everyone in the U.S. will experience foot pain at some point. Occasional, short-lived foot pain is not a cause for concern. However, foot pain that lingers, or that reduces your quality of life needs to be diagnosed and treated. Foot pain may be caused by something as innocuous as wearing poor-fitting shoes. However, it also often results from aging, arthritis, injury, and improper foot function. Read on for possible answers to the question: “Why do my feet hurt?”
Aging is a leading cause of pain in the feet. Pain in the feet, particularly in adults over the age of 65 may present as aching or stiffness. Oftentimes, this is merely what physicians refer to as a “wear and tear” injury. Consider that our feet bear a significant burden day after day. It is incredibly common to experience age-related wear-and-tear on your feet. Simple at home treatments may involve rest, ice, over-the-counter medication, stretching exercises, or shoe inserts that provide additional padding. Beyond this, you should get this checked out!
Although arthritis is often associated with older individuals, it affects people of all ages. In addition to osteoarthritis, which is frequently age-related, other types of arthritis can cause your feet to hurt. Inflammatory arthritis such as gout, rheumatoid arthritis, or psoriatic arthritis can also cause your feet to hurt. Your podiatrist can help here too.
If you’ve suffered an injury, you don’t need a podiatrist to answer the question “Why do my feet hurt?” But you should be evaluated to understand the severity and specific type of injury. For example, if you dropped something heavy on your foot, and develop a bruise, you know that accident is to blame for your foot pain. Likewise, if you suffer a sports injury resulting in foot pain, you know what caused the pain. But you should see a foot specialist for a comprehensive exam and evaluation, including imaging tests, to identify any fractures, or tears to ligaments and muscles, so that you receive the treatment you need to recover fully.
Improper Foot Function
When you stub your toe, most people experience common symptoms including:
Bunions are bone deformities with symptoms including irritation, inflammation, and pain. Treatment for bunions can vary widely, ranging from icing, medication, bunion pads, taping, and bunion surgery.
- Flat Feet/Low Arches
Flat feet are diagnosed when you have little to no arch along the bottom of the foot between the ball and the heel. Although babies are born with flat feet, in most people arches form in early childhood. In others, the arch never develops. In addition to causing foot pain, flat feet may make you more susceptible to muscle pain or cramps in the leg. Flat feet are often treated with a combination of anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy, icing, and custom orthotics.
Hammertoes are deformities in the toes that cause a toe to bend at the joint. When the toe bends at the joint, the muscles and tendons shrink and become tighter. Common treatments for hammertoe include custom orthotics, physical therapy, steroid injections, and surgery.
- Heel Spurs
Heel spurs are calcium deposits that form a bony growth on the heel. They are often slow growing, resulting over time from a previous injury such as a stress fracture or repeated friction. Treatments may include custom orthotics, steroid injections, night splints, physical therapy, and rest. In some cases, surgery to remove the heel spur may be necessary.
Neuropathy (nerve pain) in the feet is very common in individuals diagnosed with diabetes. But others may also develop nerve pain due to previous injuries or health conditions. If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, you should be monitored by both your physician and a foot specialist.
- Plantar Fasciitis
When trying to figure out “why do my feet hurt?” take note of where you’re feeling the pain. Pain along the bottom of the foot is often due to plantar fasciitis, which occurs when the thick band of tissue (plantar fascia) that runs along the bottom of the foot becomes inflamed and irritated. Pain from plantar fasciitis can often be resolved with conservative at-home treatments including icing, resting, and stretching. Your podiatrist may also prescribe custom orthotics, a walking boot, night splints, medication, and physical therapy.
Why Do My Feet Hurt? Get an Accurate Diagnosis in Eugene
If you’re suffering from foot pain that is not going away, or you’ve recently suffered an injury to the foot, book an appointment at Eugene Foot & Ankle. Our expert physicians will provide you with an accurate diagnosis and design a custom treatment plan to give you relief from your pain. Send us a message to request an appointment or call 541-683-3351 today.
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