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Heartland Foot and Ankle Associates
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Surprising Reasons Why Your Feet Hurt

Posted on Mar 30, 2016
I am often asked by patients (and family, friends, and colleagues who know I am a foot doctor!) about WHY their feet hurt. It is not always the obvious reason. The majority of the time, foot pain is associated with abnormal biomechanics or the normal aging process. To the public though, it just seems “weird” that one day their feet didn’t hurt and the next day, they do. Here are a few interesting reasons why your feet may be bothering you and what you can do about it:

  • My foot seems “skinnier.” This is a phenomenon known as plantar fat pad atrophy and it happens to all of us as we age. The more we walk on our feet, which is critical for a healthy lifestyle, the more we apply pressure to the bottoms of our feet. Over time, the fat pad on the ball of our foot gets worn down and we can develop pain in that area. It is more common in women, because we tend to torture ourselves with high-heeled shoes that cause more plantar pressures, but correcting the pain is relatively easy. Changing shoe choices is the best thing and we offer a variety of pads and even orthotics that can help take the pressures off the affected areas and let you walk comfortably for years to come.
  • I had a baby and my foot is so big. This is a wonderful side effect of pregnancy. As we are lovingly creating and nourishing life, our own bodies become a science experiment. In the feet, this manifests itself in two ways. First is swelling (or edema) of the legs. Women need almost two times the water consumption as before pregnancy and if they don’t get that much water, their feet swell, which may cause an increase in shoe size too. Second, is that the shape of the feet also changes with pregnancy, partly due to the weight gain associated with it. Feet tend to “flatten out” and become longer and wider. Unfortunately, this does not reverse itself after pregnancy like so many other symptoms. It’s important to have your feet measured after pregnancy to assess for proper shoe size and to check for any mechanical problems.
  • My knee hurts—what does that have to do with my feet? Often, mechanical problems in our feet (basically the “how we walk part that is hereditary”), can cause problems up the kinetic chain, specifically in our knees and hips. And problems with knees or hips can cause problems with the feet. Proper gait is essential for all joint health and if we are walking in an incorrect manner for any length of time, we can often feel the results in an achy foot, knee, or hip. It’s important to get this pain evaluated as well because it can often be corrected with orthotics (custom inserts made to correct your mechanics) very easily.

My biggest tip is: Don’t ignore the pain! Foot pain, even if it seems to come “out of the blue” or if it seems “not that bad,” isn’t normal. Correcting these issues as they arise will lead to happier feet—AND a happier YOU!

Dr. Lockwood is the owner and founder of Heartland Foot and Ankle Associates. Please feel free to contact Dr. Lockwood or her team regarding your foot needs. They all have “a healthy obsession with feet!” For more information, please visit their website at www.HeartlandFootAndAnkle.com or call 309-661-9975. - See more at: http://www.healthycellsmagazine.com/articles/surprising-reasons-why-your-feet-can-hurt#sthash.zhGnUlVj.dpuf

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