Here’s help for your foot pain

The Hamilton Spectator - - HEALTH - JIA NAQVI

Have you ever felt smug about meet­ing your daily step tar­get? Imag­ine if you met your 11,000-step tar­get ev­ery day con­tin­u­ously for more than a week — that’s what I did. But my feet paid a price for it.

One morn­ing I woke up and as soon as I put my feet on the ground, I felt as if I had se­verely bruised my feet.

The pain was un­bear­able, and I knew that walk­ing any­where was out of the ques­tion. But I de­cided to power through. Turns out, that was not a smart de­ci­sion.

At first the pain was at the bot­tom of my feet but then it trav­elled to the top of the feet. I kept ig­nor­ing it, and it kept get­ting worse. And then one day, all of the pain be­came con­cen­trated in my left foot.

I bought painkillers and took them reg­u­larly, but noth­ing seemed to be work­ing. I de­cided to visit a doc­tor, who di­ag­nosed me with a con­di­tion that sounded pretty scary when she named it: plan­tar fasci­itis. Rest was all I needed, noth­ing more and noth­ing less.

Af­ter do­ing some re­search, I found that foot pain is more com­mon than I thought. Up to 10 per cent of the pop­u­la­tion in the United States is likely to seek treat­ment for heel pain over the course of their lives, and plan­tar fasci­itis is the most com­mon cause of heel pain at the out­pa­tient clinic, said Adam Groth, an or­tho­pe­dic sur­geon at Ohio State Univer­sity Wexner Med­i­cal Cen­ter.

In most cases, plan­tar fasci­itis de­vel­ops with­out a spe­cific rea­son, but there are fac­tors that can make you more prone to the con­di­tion, such as tight calf mus­cles, high arched foot, obe­sity, repet­i­tive im­pact ac­tiv­ity, or new and in­creased ac­tiv­ity.

Since the con­di­tion is ag­gra­vated by tight mus­cles in the calves or feet, stretch­ing your calves and feet is the most ef­fec­tive way to re­lieve or pre­vent pain that comes with the con­di­tion.

“The best way to pre­vent an­kle sprains and other com­mon foot and an­kle in­juries is to main­tain good mus­cle strength, bal­ance and flex­i­bil­ity,” Groth said.

Most peo­ple with the con­di­tion im­prove within 10 months of start­ing sim­ple treat­ment meth­ods, such as rest, ice, soft heel pads or non­s­teroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

“Heel pain and most sprains are mi­nor in­juries that heal with home treat­ments like rest and ap­ply­ing ice,” Groth said. “How­ever, if your foot or an­kle is very swollen and painful to walk on — or if you are hav­ing trou­ble putting weight on your foot or an­kle at all, you should see your doc­tor.”

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