Causes, Signs, Solutions and Prevention
What are sore feet?
- Each foot is composed of 26 bones, 33 joints and more than 100 muscles, ligaments and tendons. They carry the weight of the body, while acting as shock absorbers and support while walking. Because of all of this, they can be prone to pain.
- Sore feet is usually an acute condition and can last for a few hours to a few weeks in more severe cases.
- When the pain remains for 3 months or longer, the condition is classed as chronic foot pain.
- Some factors that may trigger sore feet include abnormal walking styles, standing for long periods of time, obesity, poorly fitting shoes, ageing, a lack of exercise, diabetes, osteoarthritis and running or jumping on a hard surface.
What causes sore feet?
There are various reasons why the feet may be sore.
It can be as simple as standing or walking for a long period of time, or running on rough surfaces.
Commonly, the cause may involve having abnormal foot anatomy like flat feet, an excessively high arc or arthritis. Being overweight or pregnant may further lead to pain, as the excess weight places more strain on the feet.
Sore feet may also be a result of trauma, injuries or diseases. Heel pain, claw toes, corns, calluses and bunions can make the feet ache.
Wearing inappropriate and poorly fitted shoes may also contribute to developing sore feet.
What are the solutions for sore feet?
Sore feet can include ankle pain, the occurrence of a tingling sensation, foot weakness, aches and foot numbness. The pain may also restrict foot activities such as lifting the foot up or bringing the foot down.
Some symptoms may also vary depending on what’s causing the feet to be sore. Bunions lead to the big toe being enlarged, while heel pain can result in inflammation around the heel area.
If the feet are infected, swelling and redness can be apparent.
How do you treat sore feet?
The basis of sore feet treatment depends on whether the condition is acute or chronic.
Acute sore feet can be relieved by using hot or cold packs, exercising, and undergoing physical therapy. Foam padding, gel protectors and heel cushion products can also be used to alleviate pain when walking.
Simple over-the-counter pain medication, such as anti-inflammatories can also be effective in relieving pain.
However, if the pain lasts longer than 3 months, it’s best to consult a healthcare professional such as a podiatrist or GP who can further identify the cause of chronic foot pain.
How to manage sore feet
Identify which shoes are causing your feet to become sore and replace them.
Try feet stretching exercises to prevent overstressed muscles.
Take a foot spa to relax sore feet. Utilise a basin of warm water or a store-bought foot spa and soak the feet for 5 to 10 minutes.
How to prevent sore feet
When performing a specific activity, use only well-fitted and appropriate shoes.
Do stretching and strengthening exercises for the feet.
Maintain a healthy weight to lessen the pressure the feet are carrying.
Massage the feet frequently.
Always maintain good feet hygiene.
Optimising your general foot health
A simple maintenance routine can help to keep the skin on your feet supple and hydrated.
Daily care: Wash and dry your feet thoroughly and moisturise every day
Footwear: Ensure that your shoes fit properly (both in width and length) and are right for your activity
Appearance: Check the appearance of your feet regularly for any changes.
Movement and flexibility: Check that you can move your feet easily, without discomfort; some simple stretches may help
Referral: Speak with your pharmacist or podiatrist if you have any concerns
References and Sources
1. Feet problems and treatments. Better Health Channel Victoria State Government.
https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/feet-problems-and-treatments Date accessed: 05 Nov 2019.
2. Foot Pain and Problems. University of Ronchester Medical Center Health Encyclopedia.
https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/feet-problems-and-treatments. Date Accessed: 11 March 2020.
3. Foot Pain. Pain Specialists Australia.
https://painspecialistsaustralia.com.au/foot-pain. Date Accessed: 11 March 2020.
4. 7 ways to fix foot pain. Harvard Medical School Harvard Health Publishing.
https://www.health.harvard.edu/feet-and-foot-care/7-ways-to-fix-foot-pain. Date Accessed: 11 March 2020.