The Most Commons Causes of Sore Feet From Walking & Effective Treatments

Commons Symptoms Associated with Feet Pain from Walking

Walking is one of the best ways to get around and keep us active. However, when walking causes soreness or becomes painful, we shy away from enjoying activities to our fullest. So why might you have sore feet from walking? Our feet are used so much throughout the day, occasional aches and pains are common, however there may also be an underlying medical condition present. Read on to learn about the common causes of sore feet when walking, and what you can do about it.

What Can Be The Cause of The Pain?

Plantar fasciitis

Your feet have a tendon which runs along the bottom of your foot, from your heel bone to your area of your toes. When this tendon becomes inflamed, it is known as plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis is very common and approximately 1 in 10 people will experience it during some stage in their lifetime. It is often seen in people around the ages of 40 and 65 and is more prevalent in women, especially during pregnancy.

Plantar fasciitis most commonly presents with pain during the first steps in the morning, walking after a period of rest or after walking a long distance.

The type of activity completed may predispose to plantar fasciitis. High impact activities such as running or jumping, most commonly seen in sports such as soccer, football or dancing cause more stress on the feet.

Your occupation may also predispose you to plantar fasciitis. Jobs which require long hours on the feet and on hard surfaces such as tradesmen, retail, teaching and nursing to name a few, cause repeated stress to the plantar fascia.

Moreover, your footwear may predispose you to developing plantar fasciitis or soreness. Restrictive shoes such as high heels or corporate shoes may cause compression of the foot structures and later the forces going through your feet. On the contrary, shoes without fixation or support, such as thongs or slip on style shoes may cause your feet to work extra hard to help keep the shoe in place.

It is important to consider all factors which may be adding extra stress to your feet. For more information on plantar fasciitis you can click here.

Morton’s neuroma

A Morton’s neuroma is the thickening of a nerve just before your toes around the ball of your foot. The affected area and pain is more common between your third and fourth toe due to the location of the nerve and the small amount of space present between your third and fourth toe.

The most common symptom is feeling like there is something round, like a pebble or marble between your toes when pressing on the ground. Irritating or pressure on the nerve may cause symptoms such as numbness, tingling or a feeling of shooting pain to your toes.

Furthermore, in many instances, one may have a Morton’s neuroma and not experience any of the signs or symptoms. Treatment for Morton’s neuroma begins conservatively. This may include changes to footwear, placing something on the ball of your foot to help open up space and wearing comfortable shoes with enough room. In most cases, conservative treatment can resolve symptoms. For more severe cases, injection therapy with a corticosteroid or other solution may provide relief.

Metatarsalgia

Metatarsalgia is a condition which causes pain in the ball of your foot. It causes the ball of your foot to become painful and inflamed. Activities which increase pressure on the ball of your foot, such as running or jumping may predispose to developing metatarsalgia.

This may also relate to your foot type, feet with high arches naturally cause more pressure on the ball of your foot. Other factors such an anomaly in foot structure, short toes, tight tendons or prominent metatarsal bones may also play a role.

In addition, your footwear may also play an extra role. Footwear such as high heels cause increased stress to the ball of your foot. Shoes without fixation or adequate cushioning may also contribute.

It may present as a combination of symptoms such as a dull ache, burning, numbness or tingling to name a few.  You may also be predisposed to metatarsalgia if you have an inflammatory type disease.

Tendinitis

When tendons cannot withstand the forces placed through them, usually from being overused they can undergo a condition known as tendinitis. Tendinitis is when a tendon becomes inflamed. This is very commonly seen through the Achilles tendon and the plantar fascia. The pain commonly presents as tenderness, ache4 or stiffness at the back of the heel, leg or bottom of the foot.

Turf toe

Turf toe occurs when the big toe is sprained. It causes pain and stiffness in the toe, especially when the toe is in a push off position. Along pain and stiffness, it may also present with swelling or bruising. Treating turf toe includes resting, icing and elevating the toe. In some instances, it may also require the intervention of a practitioner to assess if the bone has undergone an injury.

Hallux valgus

Hallux valgus, commonly known as bunions is a condition where the foot bones changes position. It’s most commonly seen in the big toe, where the big toe tilts towards the little toes, however, it may also affect other bones within the foot. The bony misalignment causes a bump or bony prominence. This prominence can be uncomfortable in shoes, as shoe fit becomes an issue and the area can be aggravated in shoes. Moreover, symptoms can include redness, swelling, or numbness in the foot.

For treatment, bunions are commonly treated with changes to footwear, taking over the counter pain medication or icing the area. For more severe cases, your practitioner may suggest an Xray to ascertain how progressed the deformity is and any bony or joint changes that may have occurred. IF there are severe changes that have occurred and conservative measures do not provide adequate pain relief, your practitioner may then recommend for surgery.

Heel pad atrophy

Our feet contain lots of fatty padding to help cushion and protect us, especially around the heel. With aging or other medical conditions this fatty padding may become thinner, this is known as atrophy. Thinning of the protective fatty padding can cause symptoms such as pain and burning. It is also common to see callous formation in the area, as the skin becomes thicker to withstand the ground forces on the heel, this callous formation may also become painful. To treat the symptoms of atrophy, conservative treatments are commonly used such as icing the area, resting, or making changes to insoles or shoes to provide a softer base.

Arthritis

There are many different causes of arthritis, the two most common ones to present are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Osteoarthritis causes deterioration in the protective cushioning between bones. This may then lead to stiffness and pain in the toes, heel and feet.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder. It occurs when the body begins to destroy its own cartilage, ligaments and tendons. The damage to these structures can cause pain, swelling, warmth and redness.

To assess for arthritis your practitioner will conduct a physical exam and may refer on for blood tests and radiology to ascertain any changes that may have occurred to any of the structures within the foot.

Treating arthritis initially, may include resting, icing and engaging in physical therapy. For more severe cases your podiatrist can recommend orthotics, splints or braces. If conservative treatment options don’t provide adequate pain relief, surgery may be an option. The type of arthritis and location will determine the kind of surgery performed.

Heel spur

Heel spurs occur when there is an abnormal bony growth attached to the heel bone. Applying pressure through the area through walking, running and or jumping can cause pain, swelling and redness. It is also important to note that a heel spur may also be an incidental finding, and not all heel spurs cause pain. It is important to ascertain if the pain is caused by plantar fasciitis, a heel spur or both.

Treating a heel spur includes resting the foot, applying ice or taking over the counter medication. Your podiatrist may also be able to recommend footwear or customise a pair of orthotics to remove pressure away from the painful area.

Prevention techniques for sore feet while walking

They say prevention is the best treatment. Our feet go through a lot of work during the day so it’s very important to care for them as best possible. Henceforth, here are some prevention measures to consider to help avoid sore feet when walking.

It is also important to know when to see your health care professional. See your healthcare professional if you notice any:

  • Deformity in foot
  • Extreme pain when walking
  • Pain that makes it difficult to complete daily tasks
  • Frequent swelling or redness in the feet
  • If the feet have undergone a traumatic event and your suspect an injury to the bone or muscles.

Buy the correct shoes

There is no one shoe that is the correct shoe, everyone’s feet are very different and may present with different ailments. The correct shoe is usually the one which is going to support your feet the best or accommodate for any bony changes or conditions to avoid pain.

There are some common grounds however, that you may incorporate to help select a good shoe for you.

To get the best support from shoes, it is good to look for shoes which keep your feet more stable. Runners are usually the best option due to enclosed, laced up structure which helps feet secure and protected. The opposite to this may be a pair of thongs, which done provide much in terms of support through the bottom of the foot or fastening. This is not to say you cannot wear an open pair of shoes. It is better to look for a pair of shoes which have more fastening, such as a buckle around the ankle and thicker straps to hold the feet in place.

You may also like to consider a pair of insoles. Insoles come in many different forms and you can custom select a pair that is best suited to your feet. Some options may include a pair of arch support insoles to help offload any painful structures or a pair of very soft insoles to provide more cushioning for any fat loss within the feet.

Stretch before and after walking

Stretches are very good in promoting flexibility and warming up your muscles for activity and reduce cramping. They are also very good at targeting one specific muscle or area in your foot with a specific stretch or to target your whole foot with a range of stretches.

Here are some stretches you can use daily:

  • Flexing your toes, pointing them and then curling them. Complete this movement 10 times.
  • Rolling your ankles clockwise and anticlockwise. Complete this 10 times in each direction.
  • Going to stand up on your toes, holding for 3 seconds and then coming down on your heel. This is a very good exercise to warm up your calves and you may complete this as many times as you like.

Strengthen the supporting muscles

Strong and flexible feet is key to avoiding foot pain. Engaging in regular exercise, such as regular walking or running, is the best way to keep feet healthy. For more information on improving your running you can click here.  Avoiding a sedentary lifestyle and engaging in resistance exercise is the best form of prevention.

To complete resistance exercises with your feet, you may like to use a resistance band, weights or your own weight to help. Here are some exercises you can complete at home:

  • As mentioned, going up on to your toes, holding for 3 seconds and coming back down to your heels.
  • Picking up marbles with your toes.
  • Using a towel around your feet while seated, and moving your toes towards you to stretch your foot arches and calves.

Attaching a resistance band to a piece of stable furniture, wrapping it around your feet and focusing on moving your feet in a set of directions, such as moving them to the left 10 times then swapping over and moving them to the right 10 times.

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