Considering how much work your feet do for you — from supporting the weight of your entire body to carrying you from one place to another — your feet probably don’t get the respect and care they deserve.
Each step you take involves a remarkably intricate network of bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments. That complexity — combined with all the weight they carry — accounts for why feet can be so prone to problems, including bone fractures, arthritis and plantar fasciitis, a swelling of the thick band of tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot.
If left untreated, foot problems may worsen. Eventually, the pain could interfere with your ability to do even the most basic things like walking up stairs or down the street. If pain alters the way you walk, it can lead to pain in your knees, hips and back as well. These problems can multiply, limiting your activity and affecting your quality of life.
Several things can contribute to foot pain or numbness. Sports and physical activity can cause your feet to hurt or become numb. Going too far, too fast or not warming up properly before exercise can set you up for painful or numbing injuries.
Excess weight puts extra stress on your feet. Poorly fitting shoes and other footwear are common causes of foot problems as well.
Health problems can also affect the feet. Lack of feeling in your feet could be a sign of a serious illness, such as diabetes or a nerve disorder. See your Middlesex Hospital Primary Care provider if you have unusual numbness in your feet or foot pain that is severe, comes on suddenly, or doesn’t improve with simple measures such as rest or over-the-counter pain medications. Your Primary Care provider can provide you with different foot pain treatment options.
But there are things you can do to help prevent foot problems, such as by wearing comfortable, well-fitting shoes, washing your feet regularly (especially between your toes), wearing clean socks and alternating between different pairs of well-fitting shoes.
You should also be sure to exercise your feet regularly. Of course, one great way to exercise your feet is by walking. You can also try specific foot exercises. Sit down and rotate your ankles in one direction, then the other. In bare feet, sit in a chair and curl your toes, then spread them out. This helps stretch and strengthen your feet to help you balance.
Your MHPC provider wants you to know how important caring for your feet can be to your overall health. Please ask him or her about different foot pain treatment options and what you should do to get yourself on sound footing.