Bottom of Foot Pain
Here is a comprehensive guide about bottom of foot pain.
Bottom of Foot Pain: the Basics Explained
Many types of discomfort can be ignored or worked around, but if you are experiencing pain in the bottom of your feet, it will have a large impact on the quality of your life. Our feet are integral to practically every life activity; imagine cooking a meal or getting ready for work in the morning without having to put any weight on your feet. Foot pain simply cannot be ignored and this is why you should take steps to understand the kind of pain you are experiencing so that you can get the proper treatment.
Bottom of Foot Pain Centered in the Ball – Causes
The ball of your foot is the region just behind your toes. Every time you take a step, you place a gradually increasing amount of pressure on this area, also called the metatarsal region. In general, pain in this area is referred to as metatarsalgia, which is a condition that can affect both the bones in the region and the base joints of the toes. Causes of metatarsalgia are often related to the area being subjected to too much pressure over time. In some cases, this can be traced back to shoes that do not fit well, including those that do not allow sufficient room for the toes, causing the foot to be constricted in a cramped area. Other causes include wearing high heels, which by their design cause extra pressure to fall on the ball of the foot, and participating in high-impact sports while wearing inadequate footwear.
Bottom of Foot Pain Centered in the Ball – Treatment Options
It is apparent, therefore, that the best treatment for metatarsalgia is prevention. By wearing correctly-fitting and activity-appropriate footwear to begin with, there will be minimal pressure placed on the ball of the foot, which means that this condition is less likely to develop. This is little solace for those facing the condition, but the good news is that treatment options also exist. The first thing to do to eliminate this type of bottom of foot pain is to switch to properly fitted shoes and give up high heels. If more relief is needed, orthotic inserts are available that will adjust the interior fit of your shoe to reduce pressure placed on the metatarsal region. Gel pads and bandages worn directly on the foot have the same effect.
Bottom of Foot Pain Affecting the Heel – Causes
There are several major conditions that can lead to severe heel pain. These include tissue inflammation in the arch of the foot, heel spurs, pinched nerves, and bone fractures caused by years of participation in high-impact sports. Most people will experience heel pain to some degree from time to time, and it does not always indicate a serious underlying condition. However, pain that continues even when you are sitting or lying down, or pain so intense that it interferes with sleep should be investigated without delay.
Bottom of Foot Pain Affecting the Heel – Treatment Options
Unlike with metatarsalgia, there is no single unifying treatment theme. This is because heel pain is caused by such a diverse range of conditions. Immediate treatment for most conditions will include allowing the heel to rest, which means that walking or putting weight on it will be disallowed for a time. After that, treatment for the heel area will vary depending on the exact cause of the pain. Ice packs are used to numb the heel and lessen discomfort arising from stress fractures. Exercises and stretches may be prescribed to loosen up the tissue in the arch of the foot, thereby reducing inflammation causing pain in the heel. When it comes to heel spurs, which are little hooks of bone that grow on the heel bone, stretching may also prove effective because it can help pull tissue away from the spur; it is the spur digging into surrounding ligaments that is causing the pain. Stretching may not prove effective by itself, in which case special shoe inserts and anti-inflammatory drugs can also be used to good effect. Similar drugs can be used to treat pinched nerves causing pain in the bottom of the foot, but sometimes injections of cortisone are also called for. Better fitting shoes and orthotic inserts can also prove helpful in reducing pain from a pinched nerve. However in extreme cases, the pinched nerve may be diagnosed as tarsal tunnel syndrome (similar to the more familiar carpal tunnel syndrome in the wrist). Treatment in this case will often include a surgical procedure to release pressure on the nerve. Such surgery typically lasts less than an hour and can frequently be done on an outpatient basis, but since all surgery carries with it inherent risks, such a treatment decision should not be taken lightly.
Preventing Bottom of Foot Pain
The single most important step you can take to reduce the incidence of all the conditions listed above is to acquire and regularly wear proper foot gear. For ladies, this means saving high heels for special occasions only and making sure that your daily footwear does not strain any part of the foot. Sports enthusiasts must wear well-fitting shoes that are designed for the sport in question, in this way preventing the bottom of foot pain.