Whether you are running a marathon or simply walking on the beach, taking care of your feet is essential to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. The feet are the foundation of the musculoskeletal system and may be a site for pain and discomfort as people begin to be more active in the spring and summer months.
“The top causes for foot pain in the athletic population, especially in San Diego, are overuse, abnormal foot biomechanics and trauma — all of which can lead to diseases such as arthritis, capsulitis (joint inflammation), tendonitis and sprains,” says Dr. Howie Que, a podiatrist affiliated with Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center. Foot biomechanics relates to the structure, function and movement of the foot.
Dr. Que adds that a person with a complex medical history should be extra alert during the warmer months when underlying chronic conditions can worsen due to moisture, sweaty feet and walking on hot surfaces exposed to the sun. This may lead to skin and soft tissue breakdown, or possible hospital admission. It can even be life-threatening.
Knowing the cause of your foot pain will help keep your feet healthy — and help you stay active — for longer.
Common causes of foot pain include:
Physical activity has long been praised as a key component of good health. But if your body has not adapted to a certain level of activity since the winter months, it can impair the feet and result in painful overuse injuries, such as tendonitis, tendon ruptures and stress fractures. Easing yourself into an activity is critical.
- Abnormal foot biomechanics
Biomechanical abnormalities may be from an inherited condition, such as flat feet or high arches. Your body needs to adapt and compensate for various abnormalities when you stand, walk or run. Poor foot biomechanics can cause pain and discomfort by altering the posture of your knees, hips, pelvis and spine.
Physical trauma from an injury — especially sporting activities — can lead to chronic conditions, such as tendonitis and plantar fasciitis.
When to see a specialist
A podiatrist can help relieve pain that may impact your daily life by providing an accurate diagnosis and treatment options of issues related to your foot, ankle or lower extremities — the body parts between your hips and your toes.
“Healthy adults should seek treatment for their foot pain if they have a permanent or worsening deformity of their feet, or if their symptoms are unresponsive to conservative therapy, such as rest, ice or anti-inflammatory medicine,” Dr. Que says. “Those with a medical history of diabetes or chronic kidney disease should seek out a specialist immediately for any open or suspicious lesions to the feet or ankles.”
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