Foot pain can be caused by bunions, hammer toes, calluses and corns, plantar warts, fallen arches, flat feet, ill-fitting shoes aging and/or being overweight also increase your chances of having foot problems.
The Achilles tendon, located on the leg, attaches the calf muscle to the heel bone. Achilles tendonitis is a repetitive strain (overuse) injury involving lower leg muscles and tendons at the point where they attach to the bone, resulting in pain at the back of the ankle. Chronic overuse can lead to small tears within the tendon causing long-term weakening, making the tendon susceptible to rupture, which could result in a need for surgery.
Lack of flexibility and overpronation are two of the most common causes of Achilles tendonitis. Other risk factors and causes include:
Poor conditioning: Exercising beyond your conditioning is one of the most common and direct routes to injury. “Jumping right in” puts you at risk for developing Achilles tendonitis. Whether you are a somewhat “out of shape” weekend warrior participating in activities that involve sudden stops and starts and repetitive jumping (e.g., basketball, tennis, dancing) or a well-intentioned beginner who is starting a new fitness program it’s likely that your muscles and tendons have little flexibility because of inactivity. Stretching properly, starting slowly, and increasing gradually will be critical if you want to avoid Achilles tendonitis.
Overuse: Achilles tendonitis may occur as a result of overuse or training too much as well.
Stressful surfaces: Participating in repetitive motion activities, such as running, playing basket ball or tennis that are done on hard surfaces (especially pavement, cement or hills) can increase your chances for developing Achilles tendonitis.
High-heels: Women who wear high-heeled shoes often and switch to sneakers for exercise also can develop Achilles tendonitis. The Achilles tendon and lower leg muscles gradually adapt to a shortened position because the shoes prevent the heel from stretching all the way to the ground. When this occurs, wearing sneakers or flat shoes forces the Achilles tendon to stretch further than it is accustomed to, causing inflammation. If high heels are worn everyday, stretching should be done every morning and night to keep the Achilles tendon lengthened. As with all injuries, prevention is your best defense especially with injuries that are as painful and inconvenient as Achilles tendonitis. Prevention options include:
Stretching: To help maintain flexibility in the ankle joint, begin each day with a series of stretches and be certain to stretch prior to, and after, any exercise or excessive physical activity. Appropriate exercise routines: Be smart about your exercise choices. Avoid activities held under less than ideal conditions, warm up before any exercise, including a friendly pick-up game and don’t overdue it. Proper footwear: Low-heeled shoes with good arch support and shock absorption are best for the health of your foot. Look into heel wedges and other shoe inserts to make sure that your everyday foot mechanics are operating under ideal conditions.
Plantar fasciitis is inflammation of the fibrous band of tissue that connects the heel to the toes. Sufferers of plantar fasciitis typically feel pain early in the morning when they first get out of bed.The plantar fascia, a tight band of tissue that connects the heel bone to the toes, forms the arch of the foot. This band of tissue is important in proper foot mechanics. It is responsible for distributing weight across your foot and leg and transferring weight from the heel to the toes. When the tissue of the arch of the foot becomes irritated and inflamed, even simple movements can be quite painful. Rather than treating the pain, many doctors advise strengthening the damaged or weakened tendons. This advice can prove especially effective in preventing the possible side effects of fallen arches, including: inflammation and discomfort in the ligaments of the sole, Achilles tendonitis, shin splints, calluses and bunions. Like plantar fasciitis, left untreated, fallen arches can cause a domino effect that impacts your legs, hips, and back. The following are some simple steps you can take to strengthen damaged or weakened tendons and prevent further arch pain: Stretch - You can reduce pain and help prevent future episodes of inflammation by stretching your calves, plantar fascia, and Achilles tendon on a regular basis and warming up before starting any physical activity. Replace your insoles: High-impact activity is already a contributor to plantar fasciitis, so be sure that your athletic shoes are providing the maximum support. Replace your insoles before they stop supporting and cushioning your feet. The same goes for dress shoes. Designers are typically focused on the outside of the shoe – so you need to focus on the inside. It’s a good idea to replace the insole of even a new pair of shoes with one that provides more support, especially arch support, and shock absorption. Be healthy: Maintaining a healthy weight minimizes the stress on your plantar fascia. Other treatment options include: short-term use of anti-inflammatory drugs (available without a prescription at your local drug store), ice, and heat.
Morton's neuroma is a type of foot pain that is usually centered between the third and fourth toes. It results from thickening and swelling of tissue around a nerve in the area. Symptoms include tingling and sharp, shooting, or burning pains in the ball of your foot (and sometimes toes), especially when wearing shoes or pressing on the area. Pain gradually gets worse over time. Morton's neuroma is more common in women than men.
Other common causes of foot pain include:
Arthritis or Gout - common in the big toe, which becomes red, swollen, and very tender
Bone spur heel pain
Sprains, Bursitis or Tendinitis